More than 440 million medical tests conducted in Canada each year. And, the wait time for medical tests has increased exceptionally. Why?
Canada doesn’t have enough medical lab professionals (MLT/As).
The shortfall is due to the ageing workforce and lack of medical lab technologists, technicians and assistants. Without laboratory capabilities, hospitals and clinics are forced to make patients wait. Lab tests are vital to healthcare in Canada, from diagnosis to figure out whether a treatment is working.
Apart from medical lab technologists, medical lab technicians (MLT/As) can contribute a great deal to cater to this shortage in long-term.
How to Cater to Medical Lab Professionals Shortage?
Recent Medical Laboratory Professionals’ Association of Ontario, Human Resource Crisis report- 2019, emphasis on the fact that the most immediate need is to add additional seats in MLT programs and lobby for an increase in clinical placements.
In the report, Kris Bailey, Principal Consultant with AiCon Inc. states
“The profession faces challenges with recruitment, retention, and retirements. The objective is to improve the supply of laboratory professionals, build capacity, strengthen and modernize education and training pathways, promote faster learning, provide the requirements to work and to advance through a career ladder/pathway based on professional interest and industry need.”
Top recommendations from the association in the report include:
- Invest in an integrated career framework with proposed education and career pathways with opt-in, opt-out, and upgrade routes for all types of professionals—young and mature students and those internationally trained.
- Restructure and redesign content, competencies, and syllabus in order to mirror the career framework.
- Add more academic seats and increase retention rates.
- Redesign clinical placements, thus offering graduates real-life experience.
- Promote Medical Laboratory Science as a career option to high school and university students.
- Create a recruitment strategy.
One of the recommendations also suggests that using medical lab professionals such as technicians and assistants will re-balance the workforce and lessen the load on medical lab technologists.
BizTech College offers 31 Weeks diploma to become a Medical Lab Technician/ Assistant. Students get hands-on training in medical lab procedures in an advanced lab environment. Additionally, clinical placements offered by the college provide students with a unique opportunity to work alongside highly skilled professionals in a fast-paced, lab environment.