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Communicating what we do

IBMS Chief Executive David Wells on why it is important for the Institute to inform members of exactly what it does.

The recent Workforce report from the Health and Social Care Select Committee confirmed what we have been long reporting – that there

is a workforce crisis. Many understaffed laboratories struggle to maintain the resources needed to support registration training or further develop their registered staff. This is compounded by significant numbers of registered professionals leaving the workforce early due to pressures in the healthcare sector.

Efficiency drives can only go so far. If our profession is expected to thrive and maintain a world-class service then there has to be more time and money driven into the recruitment, retention and training of the workforce.

The IBMS knows this and lobbies for it constantly. We are governed by our members, and the motivation behind all we do is supporting and progressing our members’ careers and profession. Yet, we often find that our members don’t quite understand what we do, or why we do it.

I think the IBMS needs to work harder to explain exactly what we do and don’t do. For instance, we DO accredit university courses that prove they meet the HCPC standards for education. We DON’T create or regulate those HCPC standards. We DO create training materials and processes that enable several routes to HCPC registration as a biomedical scientist. We DO NOT create or regulate the HCPC standards of proficiency (although we are consulted).

Some members call out for the IBMS to seek reform. We do this where we can but are limited by the strict standards the HCPC puts in place to protect the public. It is conforming to these HCPC standards prior to registration that makes it difficult for some people to start practising.

Unfortunately, when workplaces are fraught with the need to have new staff on the bench and practising yesterday, training or education barriers can seem insurmountable and detrimental to the needs of the service and workforce. They are, however, entirely necessary.

To support us all through these difficult times, I think the IBMS needs to create and disseminate more information so that young people understand that biomedical science is an HCPC-regulated profession. We also need the Department of Education to help us disseminate information about IBMS accreditation and training to schools, colleges and careers advisors up and down the country.

Clear communications will offset the dissatisfaction that comes from those who have been underinformed and unwittingly made choices that have negatively impacted their route to registration. If we can help those people sooner, we can make joining the profession a much better experience.

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David Wells Chief Executive

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