From early 2014, South Australian medical scientists have been coming together and joining the Medical Science Matters campaign working to achieve better recognition, respect and reward for medical science professionals.
Medical scientists are facing numerous challenges in the current environment. Scientific researchers open doors to treatment for previously untreatable conditions, while pathology scientists and clinical scientists diagnose and prescribe appropriate care for patients. Indeed 75 per cent of medical treatment decisions are based on diagnosis by medical science professionals.
However, this work is done out of the spotlight, so medical scientists rarely receive the recognition that is deserved. Lack of recognition means medical scientists often leave the profession. Retention is a major issue as skills are lost and the quality of healthcare decreases. The issues facing our profession persist because medical scientists are struggling to be heard, in particular over the other professions in the health sector who have a strong tradition of acting collectively.
While recent investment in medical science infrastructure at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and the surrounding new precinct is exciting, that infrastructure will not realise its potential without investment in the skills and expertise of medical science professionals.
Medical scientists are coming to understand that they have a choice – to remain in the shadows and hope that things get better, or to come together with a united voice for the good of the profession and the good of the community. The consequences of doing nothing will lead the community down a path towards higher health care costs and poorer patient outcomes.
Recently members seized the opportunity to have their say on the future of their profession through the Medical Science Matters survey. The opinions expressed provided a strong basis for on ongoing campaign for respect, reward and recognition. Members also agreed that the upcoming EBA negotiations in the SA Public Sector should be used as a launching pad to set the agenda for the future of the profession.
Central to responses was the need to invest in medical science skills and expertise in order to ensure positive patient outcomes, and that such investment should take the form of:
•· recognition of the vital roles medical scientists perform;
•· improvements to conditions and career pathways;
•· enhanced attraction and retention of medical science professionals;
•· fair and reasonable salary increases; and
•· job security
Members will continue to work together to advance our vision for our profession, both during the current round of Enterprise Bargaining and into the future. As the campaign moves forward, more and more colleagues are joining the campaign and increasing our capacity for positive change. Together we will continue growing the voice of medical science through the Medical Science Matters campaign, and build a strong future for a healthy community.
Dale Beasley, SA Professionals Australia Organiser
– See more at: http://www.professionalsaustralia.org.au/groups/scientists/advocacy/?id=3215#sthash.f8Ro1Efp.dpuf