This spring, we commissioned a report to find out if the MLT shortage is real. A preliminary report was provided in June. Upon review, further feedback was required to ensure all stakeholders perspectives were included. The final report is now available.
At Queen's Park: Stephanie Akers and Tim Blakley
On October 15, 2019 we met with Stephanie Akers, Manager - Health Workforce Evidence Unit and Tim Blakley , Manager - Health Workforce Strategic Policy Unit. We spoke about the impending shortage of MLTs in Ontario. Despite the aggregate data summarized in our August HHR report, the government is asking us for a crystal-clear snapshot of the shortage in order to address this issue: which laboratories and areas are looking for how many MLTs. A more specific survey will be coming next week.
At Queen's Park: Neela Sarta, Elizabeth Roediger, and Maricon Sanelli
On Wednesday September 11th, 2019 we met again with the Ministry of Health. The MLPAO was supported by Mt. Sinai Hospital's Administrative Director, Microbiology Christine Bruce, who joined us for our meeting with Neeta Sarta, Director Lab and Genetics Branch, Elizabeth Roediger, Senior Program Consultant - Policy Development Unit (Health), and Maricon Sanelli, Manager - Laboratories and Diagnostic Services Unit (Health). Neela Sarta is replacing Bonnie Reib, who recently retired.
They recommended that we follow up David Lamb, Health Workforce Regulatory Oversight, and we have requested this meeting. They encouraged us to work with individual hospitals – from the top down: from the CEO to the Lab. They encouraged us to keep the great work we are doing raising the profile of the profession.
At Queen's Park: Tina Yuan and Briana Maguire
Both Tina Yuan and Briana Maguire are Policy Advisors with the MOH, reporting directly into Christine Elliott. Ms. Maguire specifically is responsible for laboratory work. Both were new to the position and are trying to understand how labs work, and as a result had great questions. We spoke with them although many changes to optimize are being made, that labs are utilizing MLA/Ts to their fullest scope of practice, we are still anticipating a shortage. We shared that something needs to happen or patient services will be impacted.
They committed to reviewing how they could address our recommendations of the immediate need to help rural and remote communities, increase seats in MLT programs and increase clinical placements. We followed up the day after this meeting with the full report of the recent survey regarding the shortage of MLTs.
MLPAO Report - MLT Human Resources Crisis - 2019
We’ve heard about it in our visits to your labs across the province, in meetings with stakeholders, in talking to members: the impact of MLT shortages is an increasingly pressing concern.
In May, the MLPAO BOD spearheaded a consultation in order to inform our advocacy at the government level through accurate data and specific requests. We engaged Kris Bailey, Principal Consultant with AiCon Inc and a former MLT, to conduct this research. Kris interviewed 22 key stakeholders: from urban and rural centres, from private and public labs, government representatives, and educators.
We are now pleased to share the final report with our membership: Report to the MLPAO: MLT Human Resource Crisis 2019.
At Queen's Park: MPP David Piccini
On June 20, we met with MPP, David Piccini. He is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South. He currently serves as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and is a member of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Mr. Piccini was sympathetic to our issues and took the time to investigate the possibility of adding more seats. His office provided a response stating that the current government is not allocating additional funding to current programs. We would need to find the solutions in the private sector. His office did suggest that we participate in local program advisory committees at educational institutions that determine which seats are allocated for each program. Informing these committees of the impending shortages may be our best option to influence the number of seats in MLT programs.
Our next visit will be with the Ministry of Health which is scheduled for late August. Please continue to follow our progress here. The needs of medical laboratory professionals are at the core of what we do. We will continue this work until a solution is found.
MLPAO efforts to save the Allied Health Professional Development Fund
A meeting was called with the Allied Health Professional Development Fund (AHPDF) Steering committee which led to a second meeting with our other Allied Health Professional partners to discuss a joint lobbying strategy and to finalize a plan. Two weeks ago, the group met again and drafted a formal briefing note to be signed by all of the parties and used by all parties to discuss with government about how important the fund is to our professionals and how it affects patients in Ontario.
Our partners in the lobbying effort include audiologists, speech language pathologists, dietitians, medical radiation technologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, and respiratory therapists who represent over 55,000 of Ontario's front-line health care professionals.
We were notified that the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care will be sending the first installment of transfer payment for 2019-2020 AHPDF funding on April 15th, 2019.
2018 Lobbying Initiatives
The MLPAO team has been busy in 2018 lobbying on your behalf. We visited Queen's Park on April 10, 2018 and visited 18 MPPs to discuss the impending challenges of the medical laboratory profession.