Re:The scoop on Path/UK/DX/errors?

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Interest in the pathologist who was weak in "calling it" encourages 
me to write again, especially Don's comments on the cyto. techs 

Our society - Institute of Biomedical Science - (as I've said before, 
we all come under the "Med Tech" banner over here) 
commissioned an independent survey of staffing levels , working 
practices, recruitment and retention and more late last year.

The faeces hit the fan when a national newspaper (equiv of say the 
NY Times) ran the headline "Secretaries diagnosing your cancer - 
crisis in path labs".  That arose from comments in our survey that 
unqualified and inappropriate staff were undertaking tasks for which 
they were not qualified.  It was an exaggeration by the headlione 
writer.  But hell, it worked!  All National TV chanels and all the 
national and local newspapers ran the story (for a day).
Government ministers, including the Secretary of State for Health, 
wanted to see us.  Our Chief Executive did 23 live interviews that 
day alone!
Then it all died down!  Well, no it didn't actually.  First the Trade 
Unions took up their role of negotiating salary rises (the outcome is 
thus far disappointing) and the Minister asked us (the Institute) 
what could be done.  We cannot negotiate pay and conditions, so 
are engaged in a continuing dialogue about related matters which 
could be worthwhile and help recruitment and retention but are not 
about salary.  Improved career opportunities, for example, funded 
training posts, etc.

However, we commissioned a second survey to draw out some of 
the points raised by the first.  Issues such as people "pulling the 
wool" over CPA Inspectors eyes (do you yanks have that 
expression? lets call it "kidding").  Anyway, the Inspection process 
(and we are co-share holders and owners of the Inspection 
organisation (equivalent to CAP) has been cast in some doubt; 
there has obviously been duplicity (that's the kindest word I can 
think of).

The motives of those trying (and usually succeeding) to fool the 
inspectors has been honorable - they want to keep the service 
running in the face of the greatest difficulties.

We now know, from our second survey, that there are many 
questionable (at its kindest) practices going on.  We also know 
that labs would close and the service collapse if the staff did not 
perform heroic deeds and bend the rules to keep it running.

It's what you call CRISIS MANAGEMENT and it seems to me it's 
the way health services are managed these days.

And as we say of the poor old boy from Surrey, there but for the 
Grace of God go I ( and Jill and Jack and Fred and Jaqui and Bill 
and Mary and Joe and Tony and Alan and Lord Hunt - I wish.......)

Sorry, that last name was an  "in" joke for the UK.


(p.s. Did you State-side know that these days our PM - Tony Blair -
 is getting known by his initials - TB !! is that unfortunate or what?
Russ Allison, 
Dental School

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