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  • An Evidence Check rapid review brokered by the Sax Institute for the NSW Ministry of Health. November 2019.

    Evidence Check

    Biomedical engineering: a critical workforce in healthcare delivery

  • An Evidence Check rapid review brokered by the Sax Institute for the NSW Ministry of Health. January 2020.

    This report was prepared by Lucy Taksa, Rob Paterson and Wendy Paterson based on research conducted by the Centre for Workforce Futures Project Team: Lucy Taksa, Daryll Hull, Fei Guo, Senia Kalfa, Marcus Bowles, Richard Appleyard, Dane Turner, Rob Paterson and Wendy Paterson.

    January 2020. © NSW Ministry of Health 2020

    This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study training purposes subject to the inclusions of an acknowledgement of the source. It may not be reproduced for commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for purposes other than those indicated above requires written permission from the copyright owners.

    Enquiries regarding this report may be directed to the:

    Manager Knowledge Exchange Program Sax Institute www.saxinstitute.org.au [email protected] Phone: +61 2 9188 9500

    Suggested Citation:

    Taksa L, Paterson R and Paterson W. Biomedical Engineering - a critical workforce in healthcare delivery: an Evidence Check rapid review brokered by the Sax Institute (www.saxinstitute.org.au) for the NSW Ministry of Health, 2020.

    Disclaimer:

    This Evidence Check Review was produced using the Evidence Check methodology in response to specific questions from the commissioning agency.

    It is not necessarily a comprehensive review of all literature relating to the topic area. It was current at the time of production (but not necessarily at the time of publication). It is reproduced for general information and third parties rely upon it at their own risk.

    http://www.saxinstitute.org.au/

  • Sax Institute | Biomedical engineering workforce—a critical workforce in healthcare delivery 2

    Biomedical engineering: a critical workforce in healthcare delivery

    An Evidence Check rapid review brokered by the Sax Institute for the NSW Ministry of Health. January 2020.

  • Sax Institute | Biomedical engineering workforce—a critical workforce in healthcare delivery 3

    Contents

    Background and approach......................................................................................................... 5

    Approach ....................................................................................................................................... 5

    Executive summary .................................................................................................................... 7

    Key findings and recommendations overview............................................................................... 7

    Analysis of current biomedical engineering workforce in NSW Health .............................. 15

    Defining the workforce ................................................................................................................ 15 Demographic profile of Biomedical Engineering ......................................................................... 16 Competencies and capabilities required for BME in NSW Health .............................................. 22 What are the required duties and functions of the biomedical engineering workforce in NSW Health? ........................................................................................................................................ 24 Is there an optimum number of biomedical engineers per Local Health District/ Speciality Networks? What determines need? ............................................................................................ 28 What is the role of technicians when working with biomedical engineers? ................................ 29 What other support workforces carry out the work that biomedical engineers also do? ............ 31 What other clinicians contribute to service delivery with biomedical engineers? ....................... 32 Are there other ways that a biomedical engineering workforce could contribute to the work of NSW Health? .............................................................................................................................. 33

    Training pathways and qualifications for biomedical engineers working in NSW Health 37

    What qualifications are required to become a biomedical engineer working in NSW Health? ... 37 What training programs for biomedical engineers exist in Australia? ......................................... 39 What on the job training is provided for biomedical engineers in NSW Health? ........................ 41 Are there established career pathways or career progression for BMEs in NSW Health? ........ 42 Do training programs in Australia provide the required skills and knowledge for BMEs to work in NSW Health? If not, what additional or different tertiary programs and workplace training should be provided? ............................................................................................................................... 46

    Recruitment and Retention ...................................................................................................... 47

    Are there recruitment and retention challenges for biomedical engineers in NSW Health? What are they? ..................................................................................................................................... 47 Are there recruitment and retention challenges for biomedical technicians/support workforces in NSW Health? .............................................................................................................................. 50

  • Sax Institute | Biomedical engineering workforce—a critical workforce in healthcare delivery 4

    Are advertised positions for both biomedical engineers and technicians filled? ......................... 50

    Future Challenges ..................................................................................................................... 52

    What advances in service delivery and/or technology will require additional or different BME support? ...................................................................................................................................... 52 What are the other drivers that may influence demand for biomedical engineers in NSW Health? ........................................................................................................................................ 55

    Biomedical Engineering workforce in other jurisdictions and countries ........................... 58

    Victoria and Queensland ............................................................................................................. 58 Canada and the United States (US) ........................................................................................... 61 United Kingdom (UK) .................................................................................................................. 62

    Conclusion ................................................................................................................................. 67

    References ................................................................................................................................. 69

    Appendices ................................................................................................................................ 72

    Appendix A: Participant Pseudonyms and Their Sector of Employment .................................... 72 Appendix B: List of Biomedical Engineering tertiary education providers .................................. 73 Appendix C: Engineers Australia Competency Standards ......................................................... 78

  • Sax Institute | Biomedical engineering workforce—a critical workforce in healthcare delivery 5

    Background and approach

    The NSW Ministry of Health (Ministry of Health) identified the biomedical engineering workforce as a “small but critical workforce” of 37 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) biomedical engineers working in NSW Health. This small but critical workforce is defined as a “workforce which contributes critical and essential elements of a comprehensive health service and is currently experiencing threats to meet system needs now and into the future.”

    This Evidence Check report results from a study undertaken by a team in the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie University that addressed two overarching questions:

    • What is the current state of the biomedical engineering workforce in NSW Health? • What are the challenges in maintaining this workforce?

    This Report draws on:

    (i) the ‘Biomedical Engineering Workforce – Workforce Scoping Report – small but critical workforces’ prepared by the Ministry of Health

    (ii) a desktop review submitted to the Sax Institute and the Ministry of Health on 8 July 2019 following a comprehensive literature search, using a search strategy and key terms agreed to by the Ministry of Health

    (iii) 12 interviews conducted with Key Informants (see Appendix A for pseudonyms and sector of employment for interviewees).

    Approach

    The desktop review was conducted between 21 June and 5 July 2019 to identify relevant peer- reviewed and grey literature published from 2013 onwards, from Australia and other relevant coun