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Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Alan M] #52291 18/02/11 12:42 PM
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Alan M Offline OP
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See VRCT - A death knell


Rock the boat.... Get yer coat!
Todays Solutions are tomorrows problems!
Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Alan M] #52293 18/02/11 1:07 PM
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Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Huw] #52325 19/02/11 2:28 PM
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Geoff Hannis Offline
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Does anyone else tune in to "Any Answers" on Radio Four?

There was a bloke on there talking about the severe shortage of dental technicians (folk making dentures etc.) in the UK. He was talking in terms of numbers falling in recent years from 15,000 down to 5,000 (or thereabouts).

How come? Guess what? He reckons it is due to Registration! frown

That is, the requirement to get on the register has put off new entrants into the game; and seen off those who were already practising, but without the "required" qualifications. OK, you could say that standards are being raised ... amongst the depleted numbers still soldiering on!

The guy could have been talking rubbish, for all I know. But he also made the point that (even if a tech already in the trade found the will to seek - retrospectively, even - the training needed to have the boxes ticked), there are very few colleges offering the training (I think he mentioned four).

But I found this quote from 2006:-

Quote:
Under rules introduced by the General Dental Council, denturists* will be banned from working in the UK unless they have passed an approved course and have registered with the GDC.

Could this sort of thing happen to medical equipment engineering technicians? Will compulsory registration result in a few (that is, a reduced number of) "quality techs" and see the rest simply give up (or perhaps try something else) or retire!

The only positive spin I can put on that sort of scenario is that, with dwindling numbers of techs, but with the amount of kit still growing day-on-day, it will become a "seller's market" (so perhaps, at long last, we might even see some financial rewards commensurate with our skill sets). smile

* Yes, those guys have been "renamed" as well ... but the article quoted from was talking about technicians making dentures etc.


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Alan M] #52326 19/02/11 2:53 PM
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Jim Methven Offline
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A personal view:

I have worked in the Medical Engineering profession for well over 30 years and I am becoming more and more exasperated at the nonsense that is being written about the profession. We all have a right to our opinions and to express those freely within the confines of the law of the land. However, in doing so, do we not also have a responsibility to ensure that what we are saying is based around a modicum of fact?

I read many criticisms about the VRCT to which I have listened and reacted in a positive way. However, whilst some on this Forum make excellent, well-founded arguments others do not. Often those expressing opinions seem to be ill-informed, possibly based on an inability to actually want to read, listen to, or, understand what is written and reported. Or perhaps, this happens because their prejudices or insecurities are so overwhelming.

The thrust of some of the responses to this thread, once again, would appear to be to deride and ridicule the VRCT and therefore its members. Throwing up copious “facts” and making accusations about mismanagement, financial probity, bullying and intimidation (to name but four). It would appear that the overall objective of some is to undermine and debunk all professional activities which seek to promote the Medical Engineering profession positively.

As a result, because of the negativity, what we could end up with is a non-profession which needs little education, training or indeed, regulation. This is because some argue that the knowledge and skills they require are at a very low level, are non-clinical, not safety-critical and certainly are not scientific in nature.

So medical engineering is non-clinical and not safety critical? Thus the actions taken by a medical engineering technologist, whilst performing repair, maintenance, calibration, electrical safety tests or other equipment management activities, have no bearing on patient safety, diagnosis or treatment? You never venture into the clinical environment and examine patient-connected equipment? There is no evidence of maintenance induced incidents? All completely incorrect: almost every action you take will have a direct bearing on the well being of the patient! Other healthcare professionals and patients (probably without knowing) rely on you performing your role competently! If this is not the case, your work is either heavily supervised or perhaps you may not fully understand what the implications are of failing to carry out your role to an appropriate standard. Thus, does that mean you shouldn’t worry about the concerns that patients, the public and other healthcare professionals may have around the safety of medical devices? I believe the opposite to be true.

So medical engineering doesn’t involve science? No need to understand and apply basic physics; atomic theory; electricity and magnetism; anatomy and physiology; mathematics; etc, etc? Therefore, because science is not involved, the work the profession undertakes does not need the assurance that each individual has understanding and competence in science and hence engineering? I believe the opposite to be true.

Furthermore, the argument continues: no need to care of professional matters, such as, ensuring that appropriate basic training is being delivered or that your competence can be externally and independently assured as safe and effective. I believe the opposite to be true.

As a result, your argument must be: “in the NHS, according to Agenda for Change and in line with the qualifications and skills that we define are required; we operate at Assistant Practitioner level and should be paid at Band 4 or below!” In this time of financial difficulty many an administrator will look on that statement as manna from heaven – time to save money, reorganisation here we come! And yes it does happen; many colleagues up and down the country have already been down banded to reflect similar interpretations made by managers. The same scenario may also be repeated in the wider healthcare industry.

If you share that philosophy, that is fine, because perhaps you are not a Clinical Technologist; therefore, there is agreement here. As a consequence, there is no need for you to worry further about being called Clinical Technologist or, indeed, being one – unless you want to train-up in the future? But then you may have to join a training scheme or get a clinical technology degree and be prepared to say the words “medical physics” without having a paroxysm!

The irony is that many, who have been in the profession for a long time and have qualifications which are at a lower level than those required now, will be very good in their role. If subjected to external scrutiny they would probably pass with flying colours. Your skills, knowledge and experience are extremely important and essential to the continued well-being of the profession. It is just a question of having confidence in your role and what you are capable of and, reflecting positively on the view you have of your professional world. Accept that the NHS and the healthcare industry has changed significantly over the last 10 years and that the bar has been raised in terms of what is now required in terms of qualifications for those starting out in the profession and the need to have assured competence. That doesn’t mean that what you have to offer is not good enough but you could be undervaluing yourself! You should not fear change: embrace it, use your energies positively; argue the importance of your professional role in maintaining patient safety and equipment effectiveness; join a professional body and work towards improving and developing the profession rather than talking it down.

By the way, just to stay with the thread, I have renewed my VRCT membership for 2011.

Last edited by Jim Methven; 19/02/11 3:14 PM. Reason: Typographical error
Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Jim Methven] #52329 19/02/11 3:06 PM
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Geoff Hannis Offline
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Thanks for coming on here with that well-written piece, Jim. smile

Very good ... but where are the training courses?


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Alan M] #52331 19/02/11 3:36 PM
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biomedbill Offline
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Welcome back Jim. It's good to know that you are listening in. It would be great if more of your council (Assessors' Panel) would contibute to this forum. One of the biggest issues many of us have is the lack of communication with the VRCT. This forum must be one of the best ways of getting your views out there. I'm sure we'd appreciate input from other members of the assessors' panel on many of the threads found on this site whether it be management issues, equipment issues or even jokes, we need to know that you guys are human after all.

As to the content of your posting, I still beleive that we are poles apart in our views on how best to push forward our profession(s). I do hope that the advent of Quality Assured Voluntary Regulation allows us the opportunity to reassess what has gone before and try to create a more open, accessible and relevant body to represent ALL our cohorts whether they be from the NHS, MES or other maintenance bodies.

Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Alan M] #52332 19/02/11 3:49 PM
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Jim Methven Offline
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Geoff

Thanks for your feedback. In the NHS many Departments are accredited to deliver the IPEM Training Scheme for Clinical Technologists and deliver the competence based training programmes devised by IPEM members which leads to registration with the VRCT. In private healthcare, as you well know, many organisations provide comprehensive training programmes for their staff. We are still trying to encourage a number of them to become IPEM accredited.

The Modernising Scentific Careers programme has just recently published its Practitioner Training Programme for Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering which includes a Medical Engineering training manual and syllabus. To gain access to this you need to follow this link to NHS Networks:

NHS Networks

You need to register but this can be completed very quickly. Once done look for the Modernising Scientific Careers Network. Enjoy there is a lot to read!

Jim

Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Jim Methven] #52333 19/02/11 4:03 PM
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Geoff Hannis Offline
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Originally Posted By: Jim Methven
In the NHS many Departments are accredited to deliver the IPEM Training Scheme for Clinical Technologists and deliver the competence based training programmes devised by IPEM members which leads to registration with the VRCT.

If that's the case, Jim (and I don't doubt it), I can't help wondering why so many guys working in the NHS come on here moaning about (what they see as) the lack of training "pathways" ... and all the rest. think

I can only assume that, busy as techs generally are, they just don't have the time to keep up with all those (many) NHS-sponsored websites. As usual (always), when it comes to quality, "Less is More"!

Just to change tack a little ... my own interest is more from the perspective of those of who labour in the so-called "Private Sector" (aka, the Dark Side), and more specifically, the self-employed or freelance technician. Are such as those (us) supposed to be included in all this? Or, as I myself strongly suspect, is the whole thing really just another NHS "initiative". frown


If you don't inspect ... don't expect.
Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Alan M] #52334 19/02/11 4:57 PM
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Jim Methven Offline
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Biomedbill

Thanks for your feedback too. I am afraid that I can't speak for my VRCT colleagues and their reasons for not posting although I understand that some have done so in the past. We are all very busy people. Like you I end up posting on a Saturday afternoon (when there is no rugby being played!). Also as I explained it is difficult to respond when what you say can be completely ignored or derided. We do try to keep our website up to date with the latest developments but again time can be a problem.

You may not agree with the way we are progressing our objectives but you seem to want the same end point but in an organisation which respresents only Medical Engineering. I still believe that Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering professionals are stronger when working together and have much in common. It takes a lot of effort to run an organisation and splitting up into our constituent disciplines would make this a lot harder for everyone involved (and need many more volunteers). Additionally, I believe that the vast majority of our Clinical Scientist colleagues who work in Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering fully support their Technologist colleagues and their collective professional aims.

Time will tell and it may well be that further down the road we have to take a different tack. If that proves to be the case we will do what is necessary and hope by then that individuals like you are on board influencing from the inside rather than commenting at the periphery.

Jim

Re: VRCT - Who's Re-Newed? [Re: Alan M] #52335 19/02/11 5:06 PM
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Jim Methven Offline
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Quote:
Just to change tack a little ... my own interest is more from the perspective of those of who labour in the so-called "Private Sector" (aka, the Dark Side), and more specifically, the self-employed or freelance technician. Are such as those (us) supposed to be included in all this? Or, as I myself strongly suspect, is the whole thing really just another NHS "initiative".


Geoff, whether or not you like what we are doing and the way that we do it you are included. Although the VRCT heavily emphasises the NHS, those in the private sector are an essential part of its membership. It just so happens that the vast majority work for the NHS.

We want you with us.

Jim

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