I would like to take this opportunity to say thank-you once again for supporting your professional body in what has been another incredibly busy year for everyone involved in Anatomical Pathology Technology.
When AAPT conducted a survey of both members and non-members regarding what they would like the Association to do for them the overwhelming response was three main areas of priority. Education & Training, Guidance documents and Regulation. These key areas were highlighted to the professional body as being important to APTs so the AAPT has tried to progress and promote these more than anything else on the agenda.
The AAPT has continued to be involved with the education and training workstream, participating in the development of the Modernising Scientific Careers Practitioner Training Programme specifically for APTs. I know there have been delays and hurdles which at times seemed insurmountable but finally on the 14th January 2014 the programme was approved by the scrutineers. There have been many agencies involved, not least the MSC team, but in particular I’d like to thank RSPH for all the hard work they have put in especially Dr Richard Burton as he has supported us through the entire process. The new Level 3 Diploma is just starting so after 10 years one of the founding objectives has been realised. Next year it is hoped more Centres will take up the challenge of delivering the training and already there is interest in doing this from across the country.
Regulation and registration is finding a new momentum with the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS). The AHCS has two main aims, registration for all Healthcare Scientists and overseeing equivalence of qualifications. Currently in the wake of various publications including the Francis and Berwick Reports the registration issue is high on the agenda and AHCS are pushing to ensure that if there is an available register those working in Healthcare Science are registered. AHCS are working with the Professional Standards Authority for Health & Social Care (PSA) to quality assure voluntary registers of unregulated healthcare professionals and healthcare workers in the UK under the Health & Social Care Act 2012. As ever AAPT will endeavour to keep everyone aware of any developments but it seems likely that this will move quite quickly as already Accredited Registers are being promoted to NHS Boards by AHCS who are recommending it as part of the personal specification for job advertisements.
Our third challenge, the Guidance documents, are in progress, albeit slowly. AAPT are currently involved in a revision of the HSE guidance regarding safe working in mortuaries, so once we have completed this task then we will once again concentrate on providing more guidance documents.
AAPT Vice Chair John Pitchers wrote a communications and strategy document “Engaging with the APT Workforce” which we have been implementing over the past 18 months, some things being easier than others to put in place. Probably the most successful new initiative being the single point of contact AAPT Council email address which has enabled Council to respond to most queries in a timely manner. In November a Mortuary Managers day was held in Salford and the feedback from this has been very positive so hopefully we can arrange further events in different parts of the country. We have seen a significant increase in members from outside the UK, particularly our APT friends in Norway and Denmark. This can only make the AAPT stronger. AAPT attended the IBMS Congress in Birmingham and the AAPT stand was very popular with biomedical scientist visitors.
The annual conference, which was held in Luton last year, was again a great success and I’d like to thank all those of you who organised and attended. Without the organisers there would be no conference and without the delegates support we could not continue to provide such high calibre speakers. I’d also like to thank the trade exhibitors for their vital and continued support in providing sponsorship without which it would be very difficult to stage such an event.
This year, the Conference is to be held in Newcastle and will take place on Saturday 20th September, registration is now live: please take advantage of early booking discounts and Student members can also attend at a discounted rate.
Once again thank you for your support and I hope that this year we can continue to take the profession forward and work towards our common professional goals.
Ishbel Gall FAAPT FRSPH BSc
Chair of AAPT