What is a Medical Laboratory Worker?

Medical Laboratory Workers are registered health professionals who run laboratories and test, interpret and report laboratory results. They are trained to identify disease and abnormalities through studying blood, tissue and other bodily samples. Laboratory workers work ‘behind the scenes’, but remain an integral part of the health system whose work is vital to patient treatment. More than 90% of prescribed treatments require laboratory input to aid/confirm diagnosis or to monitor drug levels or disease progression.

Medical laboratory science is a bit like detective work. Workers look for answers to the disease ‘puzzle’ to help doctors diagnose and treat their patients. They answer questions such as: Are these cells abnormal? What do these blood cells tell us about this person’s health? How does it fit in with their other symptoms? How much of drug ‘x’ is in this person’s blood? Is it working effectively? What bug is making this person sick?

Medical Laboratory Workers take on a high level of responsibility, often needing to make important decisions under pressure. Emergencies can occur at any time, day or night, so laboratory workers have to prioritise and use their initiative, often without much back-up. If the doctor needs to know the answer, they have to deliver. Sometimes this means working through the night providing results while a patient fights for their life in another part of the hospital or a surgeon waits, mid-operation, for a phone call.

Responsibilities include developing, adapting and applying scientific methods of analysis and ensuring high standards of quality assurance. An understanding of the methodology and theory behind complicated, technical and automated equipment is essential, as are developing the skills necessary to identify and interpret abnormalities under the microscope or via other diagnostic technology. Laboratory workers are highly regarded and sought after worldwide. However, the current approach of contracting out laboratory services is undermining the effectiveness and integrity of community and hospital services. Older colleagues are leaving, and younger science students are choosing other careers. Laboratory science is the only professional health science degree where the number of places in university is greater than the number of students applying.

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Read more about Laboratory Science

Laboratory Rebuilds

Northland Rebuild

Taranaki Rebuild

National & Local Laboratory Engagement Groups

Papers and Presentations

Managing fatigue and Best Rostering May 2015
Managing fatigue and Best Rostering plain wording Oct 2015
NCSP Laboratory Newsletter May 2016
Update on the faster cancer treatment project November 2012
Cancer control strategy presentation of NLEG
Cytology Workforce 2018
Harmonisation Paper – August 2016
Managing Fatigue – Presentation

Workstream Reports

Career Progression Criteria Report
Preliminary paper- Future Demand
Managing fatigue and Best Rostering
Systems Integration Paper Nov 2014
On Call and Mitigating Fatigue Nov 2014
Principles of Directive vs Partnership-based change May 2015
Continuing Professional Development Recommendations Feb 2014
Revised Incentive Rewards Paper Nov 2013
Best Rostering Workshop Report 2013
Best Rostering Practices Review
Technician Bridging Recommendations
System Integration Scoping Paper

Laboratory Engagement Group

LLEG Participant Tool Kit

National Pathology and Laboratory Roundtable

National Laboratory Roundtable Oct 2017
Training and Qualification Framework June 2017 draft 1
Workforce Blueprint Draft Draft
Considering Safe Working Practice in NZ Mortuaries in 2017 draft v1 7Mar2017 (002)
Medical Workforce Plan Draft v2 Jun2017 (002)

Medical Laboratory Workers - Delegates:

Name Location Employer
Phillipa Sarcich Auckland Auckland
Stewart Smith Canterbury Canterbury
Grant Moore Canterbury Canterbury
Mark Lewis Canterbury Canterbury
Melissa Bloxham Canterbury Canterbury
Shelley Knyn MidCentral Midcentral
Bryan Raill Counties Manukau Counties Manukau
Bernard Chambers Counties Manukau Counties Manukau
Karina Verdia Counties Manukau Counties Manukau
Linda Keat Counties Manukau Counties Manukau
Christine Henry Counties Manukau Counties Manukau
Michelle Masters Hawkes Bay Hawke's Bay
Ann Green Pathlab Lakes Pathlab Lakes
Karen King Pathlab Lakes Pathlab Lakes
Elizabeth Jones Whangarei Northland
Michael Herring Kaitaia Northland
Jane Bailey Whangarei Northland
Maqhawe Ndlovu Whangarei Northland
Janine Soufflot Northland Northland Pathology
Charlotte Vanhecke New Zealand New Zealand Blood Service
Harold Barnes Whakatane Pathlab Whakatane
Justine Young Canterbury SCL Canterbury
Amanda Watts Canterbury SCL Canterbury
Natalie Dick Nelson SCL Nelson
Spencer Walker Otago SCL Otago
Carol Carruthers Otago SCL Otago
Christine Hills Otago SCL Otago
Lynda Hampton Southland SCL Southland
Gerard Brandsen Southland SCL Southland
Grant Cook Timaru SCL Timaru
Adrian Joshi Wairau SCL Wairau
Anna Odermatt Wellington SCL Wellington
Rachel Roth Wellington SCL Wellington
Sarah Hoedemaeckers Wellington SCL Wellington
Brice Thomson Wellington SCL Wellington
Anne Rush Gisborne T-Lab Gisborne
Glen Kuzman Taranaki Taranaki
Matthew Faulkner Taranaki Taranaki
Barbara Jones Taranaki Taranaki
Andrew Soepnel Waikato Waikato
Duncan Thorpe Waikato Waikato
Wendy Wakeling Waikato Waikato
Fiona Lowen Waitemata Waitemata
Lynn Brott Waitemata Waitemata
John Sheard West Coast West Coast
Amie Ward Taranaki Taranaki Medlab
Ann Rush Gisborne Tlab
Bridget Sparks Hutt SCL
Cindy Hassan Northland Northland Pathology
Clair Crossley Taranaki Taranaki
Elaine Bellerby Christchurch Canterbury
Emi Sekine Christchurch New Zealand Blood Service
Holly Beall Waikato Waikato
Jouen Mijoo Kim Whangarei Northland Pathology
Joy Milburn Nelson SCL
Julia Armstrong Taranaki Taranaki
Kiri Rhodes Dunedin SCL
Louise Nutbean Oamaru SCL
Marcel Donoghue Timaru SCL
Natasha Didham Christchurch Canterbury
Nicola Verberne Dunedin SCL
Ping Tat Luk Auckland LabPlus
Rodney Smith Christchurch Canterbury
Sandy Hodren Palmerston North Medlab
Sharmake Ibrahim Whangarei Northland

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