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AHA Explainer: Review process for an AUSVETPLAN manual

3 Jul

Originally published December 2022, reviewed July 2024

If you’ve ever been involved in the development or review of an Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) manual, you’ll know that it can be a significant time commitment but a very rewarding experience. For those that would like to know more about AUSVETPLAN, we’ve answered some key questions.

What is Animal Health Australia’s (AHA’s) role in the AUSVETPLAN?

AHA engages government and industry members, and other stakeholders in the maintenance, review, and ongoing development of AUSVETPLAN. We want to be sure that they all have a say in developing and approving the manuals that are relevant to them.

We coordinate and manage expert writing groups and other forums to evaluate the latest information available, including lessons learnt from recent emergency animal disease (EAD) exercises or responses.

What is the aim of the AUSVETPLAN review process?

The aim of each review is to develop accurate and useful manual/s that are concise and have relevant information so that each jurisdiction can respond rapidly to EAD outbreaks.

Who participates in the expert writing groups?

We have both government members, industry members and sometimes other relevant stakeholders (that aren’t AHA members) come together in these expert writing groups.

Why is it important that AHA members are involved in AUSVETPLAN?

AHA relies on input and engagement from its industry and government members, and other stakeholders to ensure that AUSVETPLAN continues to be fit for purpose and is used by governments and industries during responses to EAD incidents.  

What other ways can AHA stakeholders have input into AUSVETPLAN development?

Input into AUSVETPLAN development is primarily through engaging in AUSVETPLAN writing groups. AHA members may also contribute to AUSVETPLAN manuals through AHA’s forums (for example Members’ Forum, Industry Forum, Government Forum) and other relevant committees and groups (for example, Animal Health Committee, AUSVETPLAN Technical Review Group and AUSVETPLAN working groups).

What is involved in the development and approvals process?

There are six phases in the development and approvals process for AUSVETPLAN identification, prioritisation, drafting, consultation, approvals and publication. See Section 5 of the AUSVETPLAN Overview for the development and approvals process.

How do we know when there is a need for a revision?

Revisions to AUSVETPLAN can arise in a number of ways, including from:

  • a routine (including time-based) review
  • a change in the risk profile of a disease in the Australian context (e.g. a rapid global spread of a disease that would otherwise not be of significant risk to Australia)
  • changes in international standards (e.g. World Organisation for Animal Health – WOAH)
  • feedback from relevant exercises or EAD incidents in Australia or overseas
  • changes in, or new, scientific or technical knowledge
  • significant changes in disease epidemiology
  • changes in priorities of industry and government members
  • technological or other advances
  • changes to EAD management arrangements in Australia.

What happens after a manual has been identified for review or development?

Once the need for revision to AUSVETPLAN has been identified, it’s considered for inclusion in the AUSVETPLAN project plan and associated annual work plan. Prioritisation of AUSVETPLAN work is risk based. The work plan is reviewed and endorsed each year by AHA’s government and industry members through AHA’s business planning process.

AHA’s members who are interested in participating in AUSVETPLAN manual reviews or development are encouraged to contact ausvetplan@animalhealthaustralia.com.au.