NCAH top students rewarded at NOAH 30th Anniversary Dinner

Candidates who gained the highest scores in the NOAH Certificate of Animal Health (NCAH) during 2015 were awarded prizes at the NOAH annual dinner in London on 25 May.

The NCAH provides candidates with a solid background in animal physiology, immunology and pharmacology, nutrition and animal disease control, as well as full knowledge of the legal framework in which licensed veterinary medicines are regulated, promoted and sold.

It is formally academically accredited by Harper Adams University, who also host both the training courses and examinations.

First prize of £100 went to overall winner Libby Merrylees, Equine Territory Manager in the Vetmedica division of Boehringer Ingelheim.

Libby said: “Studying for, and achieving, the NOAH qualification meant a great deal to me. I enjoyed the course at Harper Adams, and found studying enjoyable, as it had been a long time since I’d taken any formal examinations. The knowledge we gain through this level of study strengthens our confidence, and increases our credibility with our customers”.

Second overall winner was Rachel Fensome from MSD, with Susan Braithwaite from Bayer Animal Health in 3rd.

Three NCAH examinations were held in 2015. Libby Merrylees was top student in the examination taking place in January, with Rachel Fensome from MSD in second place.

From the May examination, Susan Braithwaite from Bayer came top and Katie Wray from Dechra came second.

And in the September examination, Polly Davies from Elanco was top with Sarah Pickford from Ceva Animal Health in second place.

NOAH’s Chair, Cat Sayer, who presented the awards, said: “Congratulations to our top students this year – and indeed, to everyone who has achieved the NCAH qualification in 2015. NOAH has an ongoing commitment towards this academic standard and the essential knowledge it imparts to sales representatives joining our industry.

“All NOAH members’ representatives are required to be on the NCAH Register and take the examination within two years of starting their role. We believe the expertise this develops ensures best practice and ethical promotion,” she said.

Notes for Editors
The National Office of Animal Health represents the UK animal medicines industry and is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016. Its aim is to promote the benefits of safe, effective, quality medicines for the health and welfare of all animals.

For more information contact Donal Murphy or Alison Glennon, NOAH, 3 Crossfield Chambers, Gladbeck Way, Enfield, Middlesex, EN2 7HF. Tel: 020 8367 3131. Email:

For more about the NCAH see

About the NCAH Top Students for 2015

January 2015

Ist place overall and 1st place in January exam: Libby Merrylees – Boehringer Ingelheim

Libby is Equine Territory Manager in the Vetmedica division of Boehringer Ingelheim, responsible for managing Equine accounts in the North of England and Scotland. The company’s main therapy areas are currently endocrinology and respiratory.

She has been in the role for almost three years, having previously worked as a pharmaceutical representative within the NHS for twenty five years, including over ten years with Boehringer.

Libby says: “Studying for, and achieving, the NOAH qualification meant a great deal to me. I enjoyed the course at Harper Adams, and found the stimulation of studying surprisingly enjoyable, as it had been a long time since I took any formal examinations. I feel that the knowledge we attain through this level of study really strengthens our confidence within our roles, and increases our credibility with our customers.

“I absolutely love my job, and I am proud to work for Boehringer. I feel that we strive to give our equine vets the highest quality support that we can, including excellent CPD for them, as well as quality information for their clients. My aim within my accounts is to be viewed as a trusted partner by my customers, and as somebody who really understands their business.”

Outside work, she enjoys riding her horse, Frank, and having nice lunches in country pubs. She has two grown up sons, James and Jack, who have no interest in horses at all, but share her love of country pubs!

2nd place overall and 2nd place in January exam: Rachel Fensome

Rachel qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 1994 and joined MSD Animal Health (then Intervet UK Ltd) in 2000 as a Clinical Trials Monitor.  In 2007 she left to have her son, returning in 2010 to work for the Veterinary Support Group as a Technical Advisor.  In 2013 she moved into the Companion Animal Business Unit as a Practice Development Manager (at that point, a newly created e-detailing role that has now grown and developed within the company). She is involved in product device training and campaign/technical e-detailing.

Rachel says: “The NOAH exam gave me a refreshing opportunity to revisit and reflect on many areas of my Veterinary Nursing qualification that I haven’t utilised outside of general practice for a number of years. The teaching at Harper Adams University was outstanding and clarified specific detail that I hadn’t necessarily understood as well beforehand.  I found it an invaluable experience, not only supporting and assisting me in my present role, but because it has encouraged me to continue learning with the sense of achievement gained from this exam.”

May 2015

3rd place overall and Ist place in May exam: Susan Braithwaite

Susan has always had a fascination with animals and nature so upon leaving school after A-Levels and unsure on the right career path she gained employment in a family friends vet practice. Here shr found her passion in caring for animals both large and small. She qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2003 and has worked as a head nurse in Kent and London, later moving to work in referral nursing. As a referral nurse her specific area of interest was small dogs with neurological conditions.

She started working for Bayer Animal Health in 2013: she enjoys every aspect of the role and tackling the new challenges. Susan says: “The transition from Vet Nurse to Territory Rep is challenging and I cannot thank the Bayer team enough for their fantastic support and training.”

In her spare time she is a keen runner and enjoys taking part in regular long distance races, this is mainly driven by my love of baking and eating!

She has a cheeky terrier called Cookie who has very selective hearing and a love of chasing squirrels.

2nd place in May exam: Katie Wray

Having gained much experience & many skills in a variety of roles over the course of the last 20 years within the medical pharmaceutical industry, Katie took an active decision to make the move over to the veterinary sector. I joined Dechra in October 2013 on the Small Animal side and then due to a re-structure was offered the opportunity to build & manage the Farm & Equine teams & portfolios.  This co-incided with a high-profile new product launch within the Equine Locomotion therapy area which perfectly matched her personal interest in Equestrianism, with much of her spare time being in a competitive dressage environment.

Katie says: “Whilst my current role does not necessitate the NCAH qualification, I felt it appropriate to take a leading stance & put myself forward & take the exam. Alongside the fact that it is expected that my team members complete the NCAH examination, there is so much to gain from taking part.

“As an independent industry examination, the NCAH exam is a direct reflection of the dedication & commitment to excellence by member companies via thorough training that allows us to demonstrate sound veterinary and technical knowledge on the company’s products & present it in an accurate and responsible manner.  Having been ABPI (Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry) qualified since 1993, I had an understanding of the importance of this examination.  It is our duty as company representatives to uphold the high standards and values of the industry.

“Thanks to the tremendous teaching and transfer of knowledge at Harper Adams, the examination process itself was, dare I say it, quite enjoyable and having spent time at University gaining my first degree in Physiology, made me want to pursue further qualification once the NCAH exam had been completed.”

September 2015

Ist in the September exam: Polly Davies

Polly has been part of the Elanco team since August 2013, as Companion Animal Key Account Manager for 2 years before recently joining the Poultry Team as Strategic Account Manager for Layers & Game Birds.  Prior to Elanco, she worked in Human Resources at Dairy Crest and was a Practice Manager for a small mixed rural practice.

She has a special interest in parasitology and working across species with the wider Elanco team. She lives in Somerset with her black Labrador, Basil, and her ‘hand-me-down’ Cat, Grobbie.

2nd in the September 2015 exam: Sarah Pickford

Sarah joined Ceva Animal Health in February 2014 as Livestock Territory Manager covering south Wales, central England and parts of Norfolk.

Prior to this she worked for MSD Animal Health for 6 years as a technical advisor, and she also spent time as an account manager in the large animal team covering South Wales.

She has an honours degree in Animal Science and after graduating she joined a feed company working in feed formulations. Before joining MSD she spent 18 months travelling and working in Australia and New Zealand.