Congress is Almost Here!

Our annual congress Riding the Rails in the Rockies is fast approaching, but its not too late to register! Congress will be held in Cranbrook September 21-23. To ensure you don't miss out on this exciting event, please visit our web site for the latest information on:

Annual General Meeting- As always our AGM is held at Congress. It is on Friday, September 22 and information materials are available on our web site.

Remember, on September 20th the PBCO/CBS is offering a free Transfusions Issues Symposium (see article below) and the BCSLS East Kootenay Academy is offering a special one-day Anaerobic Bacteriology Workshop in conjunction with the Congress. An enrollment form is available on our web site.

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Drugs Cost More Than Doctors

According UBC researchers Canada now spends 25% more on pharmaceuticals than on doctors. Their study was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal in 2005.

The study differentiated new drugs introduced between 1990-2003 according to whether they were "breakthroughs" over existing drugs, or "me-too" drugs, defined as "additions ... providing moderate, little or no improvements" and "line extension" of existing drugs. It was determined that no more than 12.4% of new drugs were "breakthroughs", the rest were "me-too" drugs.

The "me-too" variety accounted for 80% of all increased expenditures on drugs, while the "breakthroughs" accounted for only about 10% of increased spending. Furthermore, the "me-too" drugs cost about 2.5 times as much per prescription as comparable older drugs.

The study concludes that if the increased use of "me-too" drugs could be stopped for one year the Canadian health care system could save $1 billion. The savings from just the one year would pay the annual salaries of 4000 new primary care physicians.

Source: Therapeutics Initiatives

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TeleHealth: Iron Haemochromatosis

Our next TeleHealth seminar will be held on October 19th at 6PM to 8PM at approved sites throughout the province. Check out our Education web pages for more information

Dr. Gillian Lockitch, Director of the Department of Pathology & Lab Medicine, UBC/Children's & Women's Health Centre of BC. Dr. Lockitch will provide an update on the recognized genetic variants of haemochromatosis, present typical case studies, examine genotype/biochemical and clinical phenotype relationships and suggest an approach to diagnosing and confirming haemochromatosis in children and young adults.

Mail-In Registration Form

Online Registration

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BCIT Terrorism Course

On November 18th BCIT is offering a one-day introductory course called The Basis of Modern CBRNE Terrorism at its Burnaby Campus. It is designed for first responders such as law enforcement, paramedics, fire fighters, hospital personnel, private and public security staff as well as anyone concerned about the safety of the general public.

It will focus on the potential harm from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive agents in a terrorist attack. Case studies will be examined and tabletop exercises of realistic scenarios will be used.

Instructor: Bryan Callowhill B.Sc, Forensic Chemist and Hazardous Materials Specialist with 32 years of experience with the RCMP, Justice Institute, and BCIT Forensic Science program.

Location: BCIT Burnaby Campus

Date: Saturday, November 18, 2006

Time: 09:00 - 16:30 hrs

Contact: Christine Watt at 604 412 7539

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Blood Transfusion Issues Workshop

There are still spaces left for the 6th Annual Symposium on Blood Transfusion Issues, to be held on Wednesday, September 20th, 2006 in Cranbrook, British Columbia.

This is a full-day educational event, and is jointly hosted by Canadian Blood Services and the Provincial Blood Coordinating Office in conjunction with the BCSLS Congress. It provides an opportunity for communication between the professionals in the Transfusion Medicine field to share new technologies and best practices. This year's presentations include:

  • Betty-Ann Vesala - “Just Culture” and Occurrence Management
  • Karen Bowers - Sharing Experiences with CSA Compliance
  • Shanta Rohse - An Inside Look Into The CBS Website
  • Dr Mark Scott - Why Bleeding (Blood Donation) Is Good For You: The Evils of Iron
  • Susan Shimla - Buffy Coat Implementation Update
  • Coleen McAloney - Quality Systems and How It Affects You

Contact: Sabrina Gunke, Quality Management Program Coordinator, Provincial Blood Coordinating Office. Telephone: 604-806-8840, Direct: 604-682-2344 ext. 63502, Fax: 604-806-8824

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NBSMLT Appoints New Executive Director/Registrar

The New Brunswick Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists has appoint Janelle Bourgeois Whitlock as their new Executive Director/Registrar. Ms. Whitlock is a Medical Laboratory Technologist, who is pursuing a B.Sc in Laboratory Science at the Universite de Moncton, and has experience as an administrative director. Retiring from the position is Janet Kingston, who has been with NBSMLT since 1996.

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Health Skills Connect

A consortium of health care stakeholders, including BCSLS, has been invited to assist in the development of Health Skills Connect aimed at helping internationally trained technologists to gain professional recognition and employment in BC's health system. It will target recent immigrants who:

  • became permanent residents in the last five years.
  • have a minimum of five years professional work experience prior to arrival
  • have specific targeted skills (including in medical laboratory technology)
  • have intermediate to advanced English proficiency

The initiative is an expansion of The Ministry of Economic Development's Skills Connect for Immigrants. The Ministry of Health and the Western & Northern Health Human Resources Forum (a federally funded regional initiative) are partners in the project.

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Feds Fund Faster Epidemic Surveillance

Canada Health Infoway and B.C. will develop a pan-Canadian Public Health Surveillance System to help carry out faster, more coordinated responses to potential epidemics. IBM Canada has been selected as the systems integrator for the system which will be available for implementation in 2007. The federal government has provided $100 million to Infoway for planning and development of the system.

Source: Merck Frost Health Edition/NR

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VIHA Defends Service Record

The Vancouver Island Health Authority is defending its record on mental health and addiction services, following the resignation in August of their clinical director of psychiatric emergency services for the region. He said he was frustrated with the region’s failure to provide adequate services. However the CEO of VIHA, Howard Waldner, says the region spent almost $93 million on services and programs to assist people with mental health issues and addictions “while responding to many other competing priorities across health care including reducing wait times for surgery.” He points out that treatment, the primary role for VIHA, is only part of the addictions picture.

Source: Merck Frost Health Edition/Victoria Times-Colonist

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CIHI To Develop MLT Database

On Sept. 11th the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) launched its new database development project aimed at providing up-to-date, ongoing information about Medical Laboratory Technologists in Canada. BCSLS attended the launch in Ottawa, along with CSMLS and most of the MLT regulators and professional associations across the country.

CIHI will work in partnership with regulatory bodies and professional associations to collect information about the number of MLTs, their geographical distribution, their demographics (age, gender etc), their education/training, specific employment/practice characteristics, migration patterns (within and outside Canada), attrition (leaving the profession) and productivity (earnings & services provided).

All of the information gathered is subject to strict privacy and confidentiality rules, so that no individuals can be identified. The target date for publishing 2008 data is July 2009. From then CIHI will publish annual reports and offer access to the data for researchers and others addressing health human resource issues.

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