OTTAWA, April 24th, 2012 – The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is proud to be celebrating National Medical Laboratory Week. Since 1985, CSMLS has sponsored this special week to promote awareness and understanding of the role of medical laboratory professionals in the health care system.
“Medical laboratory professionals play an incredibly vital role in Canada’s health care system,” said Tricia VanDenakker, CSMLS President. “Doctors depend on laboratory test results to accurately diagnose and treat illness, and monitor patient health.”
As a group, the medical laboratory profession is the fourth largest health care profession in Canada; however, members are often over looked by the public as key contributors to patient care. “Canada’s health care system is not solely comprised of doctors and nurses,” said Christine Nielsen, CSMLS Executive Director. “Medical laboratory professionals generate over 440 million results each year.”
CSMLS representatives are on Parliament Hill today to highlight the important role that medical laboratory professionals play in the lives of Canadians and to urge support for critical issues affecting the profession.
The first is the lack of financial support for the recruitment of new medical laboratory technologist graduates to rural areas. CSMLS is urging the federal government to expand on their recent commitment of loan forgiveness for new family physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners, as outlined in the 2012 Federal Budget, and include medical laboratory technologists.
“To ensure that all Canadians have access to quality health care, it is imperative to include medical laboratory technology graduates in existing and new incentive programs aimed at recruiting and retaining health care professionals in our rural communities,” said VanDenakker. “Without qualified professionals to generate lab results, quality patient care is impossible”.
Secondly, Canada is presently facing a nation-wide shortage of medical laboratory technologists.
The current supply of new graduates will not be sufficient to address the projected shortages.
“Our organization predicts that over 42 per cent of Canada’s medical laboratory technologists will be eligible to retire in the next ten years,” said Nielsen. “To help address this shortage, we are calling on the Federal Government to invest in a national health human resource strategy for the medical laboratory profession”.
“We recognize recent measures implemented by the Federal Government in addressing the needs of medical laboratory professionals, and we hope to continue building on this momentum as we move forward,” concluded VanDenakker.
National Medical Laboratory Week runs from April 22nd to April 28th. This year’s theme is Our Focus is You, and reflects the vital care that patients receive from medical laboratory professionals. They focus on patients’ results, so patients can focus on what's important. For more information on National Medical Laboratory Week, please visit www.ourfocusisyou.ca.
The Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) is the national certifying body for medical laboratory technologists and medical laboratory assistants, and the national professional society for Canada's medical laboratory professionals. Incorporated in 1937, CSMLS has over 14,000 members.