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GLOBAL VIEWPOINT


competent biomedical laboratory science workforce to respond to the need for increased testing and accurate diagnosis. However, it also requires innovation, and the opportunity to influence decisions through sound, evidence-based scientific knowledge. Our responses will define us as a


profession, but it also requires local investment in infrastructures that provides better healthcare treatment. These will have limited success unless there is also investment in education and training to develop qualified staff. Only then can the delivery of diagnostic testing, the monitoring of treatments, transitional research that informs new treatment regimens, and the training of clinical staff that use them, impact optimally on the health of individual patients and holistically on the health of the nation.


Biomedical Laboratory Science Day Strategically, IFBLS is using the opportunity to keep increasing the awareness and recognition of biomedical laboratory scientists and their professional role with other healthcare workers. The theme for the International Biomedical Laboratory Science Day (BLS Day) 2021–2022 is: Testing Times – Biomedical Laboratory Scientists’ Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our objective is to promote and celebrate the key responsibility of biomedical laboratory scientists in diagnostic and preventive healthcare systems. Next year, 15 April 2021 will mark the 25th Anniversary of BLS Day and should be a great day to celebrate our profession on a global scale.


Education and training Recognising the specific contribution that biomedical laboratory scientists bring to healthcare provision and global developments in knowledge, scientific technology and research is essential if there is to be continued development and funding for education programmes. International organisations such as IFBLS define core competences and skills for the global profession, but they are reliant on individual countries to adopt them: they need to be used to inform minimum standards for education and to implement statutory regulation.


Many low- and middle-income countries do not have infrastructure to train the biomedical laboratory workforce to degree level, nor do they have regulatory systems that ensure standards are applied and that investigative procedures are only performed with the necessary knowledge and skills to produce accurate results. The IFBLS can assist by offering guidance and access


for Health: Workforce 2030. Much progress has already been achieved with nursing and midwifery, and IFBLS wants to see the importance of recognising this for all regulated professionals. In this context, a statement from IFBLS on human resources was accepted for the WHO Executive Board in 2019. This statement highlighted the need to document and recognise healthcare professionals such as biomedical laboratory scientists correctly with other regulated health professionals who have a similar level of qualification that underpins profession-specific expertise. The platform for this is the review of the ISCO.08 standards in time for the 2030 census, and IFBLS will continue working to redefine the position of biomedical laboratory scientists in these standards.


The International Journal of Biomedical Laboratory Science is an online journal published twice a year by IFBLS. The journal (www.ijbls.org) is devoted to the dissemination of new knowledge concerning the biomedical laboratory sciences.


to information through greater use of education tools such as webinars and e-learning platforms.


Advancement programme A major project currently under development is the Britta Karlsson Advancement Programme, funded by a legacy donated by a former IFBLS member and aimed at enabling IFBLS member associations (primarily from low- and middle-income economy countries) to promote the education and professional advancement of biomedical laboratory scientists.


This can best be achieved by collaboration between our organisation, working together to share ideas and promote our professional identify. Greater engagement with all members is crucial to achieving our shared ambitions, so my priority is to use the expertise we have in order to create stronger scientific advisory networks that can influence development in areas that lack education and training resources. In this, IFBLS is reliant on its member associations to continue to promote professional standards of practice at a national level and contribute to the global pool of knowledge at an international level.


Human resources While developments in information technology (IT) should make the sharing of knowledge more accessible, the challenge is still to raise the profile of the biomedical science profession and gain recognition of the value this can bring to healthcare. At this point, it is worth noting that WHO has a Global Strategy on Human Resources


WWW.PATHOLOGYINPRACTICE.COM DECEMBER 2020


Looking forward In summary, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the IFBLS Board and completing a busy and productive term of office. However, it would be remiss of me not to reflect on the impact that the COVID situation has had on scientific meetings. The postponement of the 34th World Congress, which was due to be held in Copenhagen in September 2020, denied our profession an essential global meeting point where scientific work is shared, networking creates opportunities for new friendships and collaborations, new technology is displayed, and inspiration for the future is generated. The importance of national and international conferences, and support from all stakeholders cannot be understated. I therefore hope that as I reach the halfway stage of my presidency, in August 2021, ‘business as usual’ relies less on virtual communication, and the postponed World Congress takes place in Copenhagen as planned, so that the profession can once again come together as a global community intent on contributing to the future progress of biomedical laboratory science.


Alan Wainwright is the Executive Head of Education at the IBMS, a Chartered Scientist and a registered biomedical scientist with the Health and Care Professions Council. His career as a biomedical scientist has ranged from routine histopathology to rheumatology research at the University of Birmingham Medical School, and senior management of clinical immunology, clinical biochemistry and finally as Pathology Business Manager at Bart’s and the Royal London Hospital. His work at the IBMS led him to be an invited speaker at IFBLS congresses and to represent the IBMS as the Chief Delegate at the IFBLS General Assembly of Delegates.


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PATHOLOGY IN PRACTICE


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