Time for a Revolution?

Happy New Year!

On behalf of the MLPAO I would like to thank you for your membership. You have now joined thousands of medical laboratory professionals that belong to an association that is focused on the needs of the laboratory, specific to Ontario.

Planning for 2019 began last September. We hope you will find value in your membership and be able to take advantage of the many great features we have to offer. I have provided a list of member benefits at the end of this message. I would encourage you to review them, so you don’t miss out.

The State of the Laboratory

As you are aware the laboratory profession has reached a state that is causing many of us concern. We are questioning our jobs, our processes, our staffing levels and our state of minds. Healthcare in Ontario is changing to adapt to our aging population and has pushed our healthcare system into a state of chaos.

The healthcare profession is experiencing strain in each and every area from wait times to finding available family doctors. As healthcare professionals, we are impacted at work, as loved ones caring for elderly family and as patients.

The FAO (Financial Accountability Office) issued a report in March 2018 stating that Ontario health care spending has not kept up with the aging population.

The need for long term care homes is real. If you recall the Liberal government has announced 30,000 long term care beds pre-election (April 2018).

Then in October of 2018, our current government announced “Ontario Government for the People is Taking Immediate Action to End Hallway Health Care” This announcement declared an additional 90 million be added to this issue, although it is unclear how this money is being dispersed. More specifically the lack of reference or mention of the laboratory, is concerning.

The CMLTO data shows that in the next 4-6 years 46% of MLTs (51-60) will be eligible to retire. There are 12% aged (61+) that are currently eligible. How are we addressing this shortage?

This human health resource issue will continue to strain our system. In the laboratory we are already feeling the strain, so how will this impact the lab?

Our members tell us that full time positions are not being posted to replace retirees. Rather, part time and casual positions are being used. How does this make our profession a truly viable option for those entering the workplace?

These are a few of the questions we are working on at the MLPAO. Our data collection and ongoing conversations have included members, stakeholders, educators and government officials to find solutions.

It has been said that if you keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result, you could go insane. I find it insane that the laboratory has such a quiet voice in healthcare. We need to start thinking differently.

The Revolution

The dictionary defines a revolution as: “a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something: a change of paradigm” So is it time for a laboratory revolution? Meaning, is it time we start changing how we think, how we act and what we do.

Yes it is! These are a few of the things we have planned.

Why not bring together everyone that is experiencing these issues and confirm the problems? Ok let’s do that!

In 2019 we are bringing together a large group of lab leaders in Ontario. This will be the first ever “Directors Think Tank”. The intent is to collaborate, share and educate each other about what exactly is the state of the profession. Getting clarification and confirmation will assist leaders and the MLPAO to move forward with solutions. Is your Lab Director attending? Go ask them. Maybe the invitation never go to their inbox. Tell them to send us a message.

We are visiting Queens Park in the spring to speak directly with key decision makers regarding the laboratory and our findings.

We are approaching your local MPPs and encouraging them to visit their local lab. Healthcare is decided and determined at the provincial level. Therefore getting these MPPs in your laboratories is the only way they can understand the impact to their life and their families.

Maybe you are one of those lab professionals that are fed up. You have been in the profession for so many years and nothing has changed. We are challenging you this year to be part of this revolution. Call us to book a lab tour, we will coordinate all the logistics. Call us to visit your lab and talk to your peers. We all need to step out of our comfort zones and start having these difficult conversations, or else things will always stay the same.