CHRISTINE MIDDLEMISS has been appointed as the UK’s next Chief Veterinary Officer, taking over from Nigel Gibbens, who is stepping down at the end of February following 10 years in the post.

The Glasgow-trained vet comes from a farming family in the south of Scotland, with a background in beef cattle and sheep, and worked for a number of years in private practice in Scotland and the north of England, before joining Animal Health – now part of the APHA – in 2008 as a divisional veterinary manager in Scotland. Latterly, she rose to be Deputy Director for Animal Traceability and Public Health at Defra.

Dr Middlemiss will now re-join Defra from her current position in Australia, where she has been working as the CVO in New South Wales since August 2016, where she has led major improvements to biosecurity across many farming sectors.

Prof Gibbens said: “I would like to congratulate Christine on her success against a strong field of candidates and I am certain she will be a great addition to the department. Her breadth of experience from work within government and in the private sector will enable her to provide excellent veterinary leadership to Defra to deliver the Government’s ongoing commitment to maintaining our high animal health and welfare standards, and represent the interests of the UK internationally.”

The British Veterinary Association congratulated Ms Middlemiss on her appointment as next UK chief vet. President John Fishwick said: “We’d like to congratulate Christine Middlemiss on her appointment as the UK’s next CVO and welcome her return to Defra – as well as to the UK, following her 16 months as CVO in New South Wales, Australia.

“As Christine notes, she will take up her role amidst EU Exit negotiations when the vital role veterinary surgeons play in so many areas of political and public life must be championed and considered more than ever," said Mr Fishwick. "The work of all vets in government is indispensable in protecting and promoting animal health and welfare and public health, and current UK CVO Nigel Gibbens CBE has been crucial in steering this with calm direction and sage insight from the heart of government.

“We hope to continue our effective working relationship with the new UK CVO, and really look forward the opportunity to work with Christine moving forwards.”