Biomedical Science Education and Practice in Ireland • Dr Tom Scott • School of Biological Sciences • Dublin Institute of Technology
Developments 1950s • IBMS qualifying professional body. • Intermediate examination. • multi-disciplinary • Final examination. • Specialist subject. • Associateship of IBMS. • Fellowship of IBMS- final examination in second subject.
Developments in UK • The IBMS adopted the ONC/OND and HNC/HND system for qualification in 1965. • An Irish equivalent, specifically for MLS, was established in 1966. • IBMS introduced the Special Fellowship examination.
Course Structure in Ireland • Certificate course-. • Multi-disciplinary. • One year full –time. • Two years block release. • Two blocks each of six weeks duration. • Diploma course. • Major in one MLS discipline. • Two years block release. • Two blocks each of twelve weeks duration.
Revised Certificate Course • In 1979 the course was restructured. • Two year full-time College course. • One year Clinical Laboratory Placement: • Approved training laboratories • Log-book • Assessment • Multi-disciplinary Training Students paid a training grant.
Fellowship of IBMS • IBMS modified the requirements for Fellowship in 1980’s. • Mandatory course attendance • Project component • In 1987 the IBMS introduced the new Part I and Part II Fellowship course.
Employment grades • Basic Grade Medical Laboratory Technician. • Certificate in MLS • Senior Medical Laboratory Technician. • Diploma in MLS • Medical Laboratory Technologist or a Chief Technologist. • Fellowship of IBMS
Degree Course Development • First Degree courses in Biomedical Science appeared in the UK in the late 1970’s. • The University of Ulster introduced a Degree course in the early 1980’s. • In the Republic of Ireland the DIT introduced a degree course in 1989 and a joint UCC/ CIT degree course commenced in 1990.
Degree course structure and content • Five year course inclusive of clinical laboratory placement year. DIT • Initial years: multi-disciplinary • Final years: Major and minor in MLS and Biology of Disease • CIT/UCC • Initial years: multi-disciplinary • Final years: multi-disciplinary
Requirements for Employment • The Department of Health and Children altered the requirements for employment in 1997. • Applicants must possess: • BSc in Biomedical Science Or possess a recognised equivalent qualification, and be a member or be eligible for membership of the Academy of Medical Laboratory Science.
Post-Graduate Development • During the 1980’s an increasing number of staff sought to attain post-graduate qualifications both through taught MSc courses and attaining MSc or PhD by research. • Interest in attaining qualification by Fellowship examination declined.
Post-Graduate courses MSc in Biomedical Science commenced in University of Ulster in late 1980s. MSc in Molecular Pathology, jointly taught by the Faculty of Health Sciences , Trinity College and the School of Biological Sciences, DIT, commenced in 1997.
Professional Developments • The Medical Laboratory Technologists Association was founded in 1960. • Significant improvement in the salary scales and promotional grade structures. • Medical Laboratory Science became an attractive career.
Academy of Medical Laboratory Science • Formed in 1970 to promote the academic development of Medical Laboratory Science. • The Academy gradually became more intimately involved in professional and educational developments and is now the major force in this area. • In 1996 the Academy was appointed by the Minister of Health as the Designated Authority.
Impact of Educational Developments • The thrust for degree course development was driven by a recognition of the increasingly scientific nature of Medical Laboratory Science. • The profession sought the formal recognition of this by a change in title for medical laboratory science staff and the introduction of a unified career structure.
Staffing Structure 2001 • Pathologists-Laboratory Directors. • Medical Laboratory Technician / Senior MLT/Medical Technologists/Chief Technologists. • Biochemists, Basic/ Senior/ Principal/Top Grade.
Expert Group Report • Recently Expert Groups were established, by the Department of Health and Children, to examine: the changing role of the health care professions, the impact of educational changes, career structures and designated title.
Expert Group Report • Change in title to Medical Scientist. • Staff grade Medical Scientist • Senior Medical Scientist • New grade, Specialist Medical Scientist • Chief Medical Scientist • Salary scales for Biochemists and Medical Scientists be equalised, supporting the concept of a unified career structure. Potential for Consultant level Scientist posts in all disciplines to be evaluated.
Current Perspectives • While the primary function is for service provision and development, there is a also a complementary research function. • In Ireland, because of the educational developments at undergraduate and post-graduate level, both of these functions can be addressed. • The move towards a more unified career structure will ensure that progression can reflect the aspirations and abilities of staff.
Back to the Future • Major educational and professional changes have occurred over a forty year span. • Entrants to the profession can now realistically aspire to achieve the highest level of professional /scientific appointments. • The Academy has a significant role to play, in securing the future development of the profession and in reinforcing our ability to contribute to the development of the Science of Pathology.
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