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Done smile

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Quote:
The IET wrote to the DoH in response to their request for views on the future regulation of healthcare professionals. They asked some very pertinent questions IET response about the scope of the VRCT and raised concerns that it is NHS centric.
We need a more profession specific regulator that will cover all biomeds whether they work in the NHS, Military or private sector.


If you received a VRCT certificate, BB, you would notice the ART, IPEM and IET endorsement at the bottom of the document. IET actually supports VRCT - however there are concerns about how regulation is going to be implemented.

IPEM, ART, IET and any other interested parties have been given the opportunity to formally present their concerns - they all have as far as I'm aware - in fact that is what the consultation process is all about.

Meanwhile it's a fact that the VRCT membership will continue to influence the requirements for new medical engineering vacancies, thus new starters in the NHS, and it is those currently working in the NHS who are most likely to work under the auspices of the HPC (whether we like it or not).

My view is that if it is coming then it is wise to prepare for it. I leave the argument about how and when regulation is going to be implemented to the professional institutions and just voice my own views based on my understanding of what's happening.

A few thousand others and I have made my our own personal decision to include themselves on a voluntary register - if others don't want to be included then that's their choice.

However I think in this day and age, in the NHS at least, there needs to be minimum standards for training, qualifications and experience for those working in healthcare.

Just being registered with ECUK as a technician or engineer is not enough for the job a fully qualified specialist does in the NHS.

IET and ECUK are probably concerned about the loss of engineering dedicated membership to the HPC and other healthcare specific institutions.

Employers in the private sector are probably concerned about the cost and logistics of regulation and so is NHS management, I guess.

How are other professions that are currently regulated under the HPC, regulated in the private and military sectors, e.g. Physiotherapists and Radiographers, for example?

I suspect they are regulated in just the same way. If not then how can they do their job? Only if they don't use protected titles and I expect that their employer will not allow this for the obvious legal reasons - regulation is mandatory.

This is how regulation works - the employer has to consider the implications of regulation if a professional, who's required to be regulated, needs to be employed to meet the requirements to practise, that're laid down in legislation.

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Originally Posted By: Mr R J Ling
Just being registered with ECUK as a technician or engineer is not enough for the job a fully qualified specialist does in the NHS.

(assuming that we are talking about engineering technicians, and not "health scientists", or whatever) Why not? Or, put another way, "only if we allow this to happen"!

Compare the ECUK website with that of the VRCT. Might as well have the HPC in here as well.

Also that of the IET, seeing that you mentioned it, Richard. Plus ART and IPEM.

I'm not sure if Huw will be happy with a link to PACE, but here goes! And how about the SCCT (have I missed any)?

Meanwhile, I would urge all those interested in this topic to take a bit of time out and re-read Kevin Haylett's original post, which is a well-reasoned piece from someone in a position to know what he is talking about!

Small print: for the record I have no affiliation with any of these organisations myself, but simply remain an advocate of "balancing the argument"! smile

Last edited by Geoff Hannis; 08/03/08 12:13 PM. Reason: A Free Thinker!

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The bottom line is that an individual who has EngTech, IEng or CEng registration but who's been working in another field of engineering, e.g. avionics repair, is not necessarily capable of moving into a job in medical engineering as being fully qualified and carry out that role from day-one.

VRCT is about the requirements for someone to be considered fully qualified not preventing individuals from coming into the profession at the appropriate level for their current knowledge, skills and experience.

Perhaps VRCT is becoming more effective as a means of preventing, and, hopefully HPC regulation will be totally effective in preventing, the fairly common practice (in the past up until fairly recently) of employing individuals from areas other than medical engineering in senior roles in the NHS, in jobs they have to effectively train, on the job, to do.

This is a ridiculous situtation - especially since there's no formal training or national standards that currently apply for new-starters. Regulation will hopefully ensure that formal education and training in the NHS is undertaken, along with the introduction of national training schemes to meet the demand; like has happened in other recently regulated professions.

The "bums on seats, anyone with an HNC will do as a senior technician" scenario has been happening for years, despite the Whitley requirements for technician experience, etc, that were generally ignored, because of demand and it is unsatisfactory that individuals should work in responsible positions without the necessary skills, qualifications and experience before they start in a new job working in a role that's unfamiliar.

As for ECUK registered technicians who have these skills or are already in post then I don't see that any of the arguments apply since they're already in post. However the future for them, as i see it, is that if they don't or can't beome registered with HPC if their employer requires it, then moving between jobs and career progression may become difficult - unless there is a means of applying equivalency in skills, experience, qualifications and training, etc.

The arguments against regulation appear to be coming from individuals in post who either don't want to pay, have large chips on their shoulders about being "made to do something" they don't want to do, or just havn't got relatively basic engineering qualifications. Not the sorts who'd be interested in ECUK or BMET, either, I might add.

The "self-defeating" empoyment practices of managers in Medical Physics and EBME departments has meant that the requirement for specialist training and education in medical engineering has been driven down to the point that the job is becoming dumbed-down. The fault lies with NHS management for not ploughing resources into in-house training and this "bums on seats" attitude.

The "dumbing down" aspect is playing right into the hands of AFC and local NHS organisations agendas (including some EBME/Medical Physics managers agendas, no doubt) I might add. Hopefully HPC regulation will ensure that those who are regulated with protected job roles can at least earn a decent living and that individuals can actually aspire to get there after the relevant training and education, in a reasonable amount of time.

I'm fortunate to work in a department where I can honestly say, hand on heart, that most of the senior engineers actually meet the scope of practice for medical engineering technicians laid down in VRCT - whether they're included on the VRCT or not. The organisation has not been "dumbed-down" yet and this benefits our NHS trust I think. Perhaps when I am "dumbed-down" then I'll see VRCT in a similar light to those who think it's irrelevant.

I cannot understand, Geoff, your attitude as one who's done specialist medical engineering trainig that you would advocate we should let ex-avionics engineers, graduate engineers with no work experience, etc, with some form of ECUK registration loose in a hospital unsupervised, learning on the job with no proper training, either vocational or on the job, or career structure in place - relying on their colleagues to keep an eye out for them.

Bearing in mind that I was subscribed onto IEE automatically as a gradute student, promoted to AMIEE when I completed my IEE accredited honours degree and then to MIEE without requesting it thus I was eligible to apply for IEng/CEng if I wished. All this without having to pass one exam or indicate my specialist knowledge, skills or experience in medical engineering, for the role I work in.

What sort of regulation is that? No better than a voluntary register in my opinion. Certainly worse than mandatory regulation if it's intended to ensure that I don't present a risk to the public.

Irrespective of your qualifications if you're in post working in medical engineering and you have the experience, knowledge and skills the VRCT is not a problem - individuals already in post are not the problem - it's new starters who have no specialist knowledge or experience that present risk.

An avionics engineer has no more specialist knowledge in medical engineering than a newly qualified electronic engineering graduate in my opinion. They would both need additional training and experience to meet the VRCT requirements, irrespective of qualifications or non-relevant experience or whether they're registered with ECUK. ECUK is about maintaining standards - HPC regulation is about legislation that is intended to protect patients.

Seems to me that individuals coming into medical engineering with no prior relevant training and experience want to be able to change careers, move into a top-job, whilst earning top-dollar, with (or without) retraining on the job. Ridiculous expectations in my opinion.

Perhaps Kevin Haylett subscribes to keeping individuals "dumbed-down" thus regulation, i.e. the requirements to achieve it, is irrelevant? As a registered Clinical Scientist (manager), i.e. regulated as a Scientist working in medicine, rather than a technician on the bench, Kevin Haylett is entitled to his own personal opinions and professional agendas.

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You obviously don't know me very well, Richard ... I'm against idiots in whatever shape or form!

Should we start our own Biomed Club, then (... yet another one to add to the list)? smile

Last edited by Geoff Hannis; 08/03/08 1:26 PM. Reason: What would we call it?

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One professional institution and one regulating body, if they are necessary, would be enough for me, in an ideal world. I feel that, given the circumstances, i.e. lack of relevant qualifications, training, dodgy recruitment practices, high demand for skilled individuals, problems with the career structure and lack of opportunities for progression; something is required to improve the situation. I doubt another club will do this.

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Huw Online Content
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Originally Posted By: Geoff Hannis
Should we start our own Biomed Club, then (... yet another one to add to the list)? smile


What, you mean... BANTER ? wink wink wink wink wink wink

There, that should be enough smileys(!).... whistle

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H'mmm. Not sure if the B would stand for biomed or BS, though.

On second thoughts it might need to be called HOMER (for Hands-On Medical Equipment Repairers). At least that way it would be clear what it was all about!

And doesn't the guy just have the look of an old biomed about him? smile

Last edited by Geoff Hannis; 08/03/08 5:23 PM. Reason: Added the link

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I could not agree more, but i thought you meant this Homer ;0))

Last edited by Scott Barlow; 10/03/08 9:40 AM.
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You can choose either model, Scott ... whichever you feel most applicable. Homer Simpson certainly has many of the characteristics often found in biomed techs, I'll agree (perhaps we need a poll)! smile

Last edited by Geoff Hannis; 10/03/08 12:26 PM. Reason: Any more?

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