Late in 2019 the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists announced the registration of a national certification body for medical laboratory scientists.
According to the AIMS, the new governing body will be called the Australian Council for Certification of the Medical Laboratory Scientific Workforce (ACCMLSW) and it will utilise a not-for-profit, limited liability company governance structure that, along with consumer representation, allows for the formal participation of representatives from all key scientific disciplines.
The certification scheme is scheduled for formal commencement on 1 July 2020 but piloting for the certification process has commenced in preparation for the full launch.
According to AIMS, the proposed certification scheme is the current Competency-Based Standards (CBS) framework. AIMS suggests that consultations and discussions for the development of the certification model confirmed that the current CBS was a useful guide for competent professional practice, although there is also scope for it to continue to develop and evolve over time. The proposed certification scheme will include elements of competency assessment and promote professional development activities that support competent professional practice.
The new body has developed a code of ethics and is currently seeking people to be involved with pilot testing of the scheme. There is also a fee attached to applying for certification.
It is unclear, however, what status the new body has with respect to employment standards and whether scientists will be refused employment unless they are certified. It is also unclear what privacy standards are being applied given the public are invited to check the certification status of scientists and there is no detail or information about privacy on the new body’s website. And there is no detail about how this new body intersects with higher education and existing bodies like AIMS. It is also disappointing that AIMS did not bother to engage Unions in their consultation given the potential impacts, and stated purpose, that certification could have on the employment of medical scientists.
The Union supports certification for medical scientists in order to protect the profession from rogue elements but certification must be done properly. At the moment we’re not confident that the new body will be able to properly undertake the ambitious plans it was designed for; or for that matter be able to start ‘certifying’ people by 1 July 2020.
The Union is seeking your feedback and comments about the Australian Council for Certification of the Medical Laboratory Scientific Workforce.