What are the issues besetting medical scientists in New Zealand: practical change steps for management, scientists and government : a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Studies at Lincoln University
This qualitative study will analyse the views of two types of medical scientist working in one region of New Zealand. The first group, medical scientific officers (MSO) who are employed by hospital and university laboratories, do research on diseases to develop vaccines and medications. The second group, medical laboratory scientists (MLS), provides the test results essential for use by clinical medical staff in the detection, monitoring or prevention of disease. (There is some crossover of duties). The 35 scientists interviewed were told the emphasis was on issues which help or hinder their work and in particular matters of ‘bureaucracy or paper work’. The aim was to find what scientists, management and government need to do to provide an effective environment toward meeting the New Zealand government’s goal for growth in science and biotechnology as an export earner. Overwhelmingly, the claim was made that scientists were beset with too much unnecessary management and government bureaucracy. Medical scientific officers (MSOs) believe hospital managers are cutting back on scientific officers and replacing them with lesser qualified medical laboratory scientists (MLSs) to the serious long term detriment of the nation. They regard science as a poor option for young people to enter, much better tenure is needed, as is more freedom to carry out productive research without people outside of their specialty telling them what they can or cannot do. A key finding is the strong need for more clinical direction. Ideas with potential are not acted on quickly enough because ideas are tied up inappropriately in intellectual property secrecy. Innovative MSOs and MLSs as well as medical doctors need more support from management and peers to develop new ideas. Of great concern was the finding from nearly all MSOs and some MLSs, that there was deep mistrust of management. They wanted a more congenial management and thought there needed to be more management co-operation between universities and hospitals. E.g. have common administration and services. The good news is that there are some groups working well and these provide a successful model for others. Finally, as permission for this study was willingly given by laboratory and university management, this indicates a willingness from management to help scientists. However, as the theory will show, until the lack of trust is overcome, some management improvement programmes may fail.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsMedical Laboratory Scientist (MLS); Medical Scientific Officer (MSO); New Zealand District Health Board (NZDHB); health laboratories; laboratory management; mutual trust; Health Research Council (HRC); clinical leader; medical research; Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB); health research; health management
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