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Ministry to fund training of cervical technologist


Ministry to fund training of cervical screening technologists

The Ministry of Health is to fund training positions for laboratory graduates in the specialised area of cervical screening.

The initiative, which will start from June next year, is the result of a collaborative approach by the National Screening Unit and the Ministry’s Clinical Training Agency (CTA).

The training programme will also meet recommendations from the Cervical Screening Inquiry and from Dr Euphemia McGoogan which identified the need to improve cytology laboratory education and training.

National Cervical Screening Programme (NCSP) manager Jane McEntee said there was currently a shortage of trained and experienced cytotechnologists in New Zealand.

“Laboratories have been relying on the recruitment of overseas trained personnel, however we understand this is becoming less successful due to worldwide shortages.”

>From mid-2004 the CTA will fund the placement of approximately six new Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science graduates beginning a career in cervical cytology.

The funding will progress the development and implementation of a national cytology employee orientation and supervision programme for NCSP laboratories.

The need for a training programme to meet the future laboratory workforce needs of the NCSP was identified through the National Screening Unit’s Workforce Development Strategy.

The training programme was developed following a review of overseas models and will meet the requirements of the Medical Laboratory Technologists Board and the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act. It must also meet certain CTA criteria.

Ms McEntee said that the Laboratory Workforce Advisory Group had expressed concern that no funded training positions were available for new graduates wishing to do cytology.

“Laboratories are unwilling to employ new graduates due to the cost and time involved in training, particularly in the first six months of employment.”

CTA manager Tony Gibling said the funding would help address these workforce issues in one of the Ministry’s priority areas.

“Minimising the incidence and impact of cancer is one of our key population health objectives,” said Mr Gibling.

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