Government Affairs Officer - Mr Joe O'Meara
This part time post was established in April 2006 with the intention of creating a focal point in the organisation for public affairs activities – keeping abreast of relevant government policies and influencing them wherever possible. This has expanded over time to encompass public relations, interaction with the media, outreach and raising of public awareness.
The government affairs officer, Joe O’Meara, was appointed to the post at its inception. Joe began his working life as a Clinical Biochemist major interests in laboratory informatics and enzymology of the liver and gastrointestinal tract. He retained an active interest in the Association throughout his later career roles in NHS management and information services and then in the Houses of Parliament.
Joe’s experience of working in Parliament gave him an insight into what motivates and influences the politicians who ultimately define the policies of government and monitor and control their implementation. It was clear from the outset that Members of Parliament are most concerned with issues that might affect their re-election. Members of the House of Lords (as things stand!) are not subject to the vagaries of an electorate but are more swayed by the opinions of the public than by professional bodies and pressure groups.
Our activities in the public affairs arena have therefore involved efforts to raise public awareness and establish a public image in order to be able to demonstrate to politicians that we have some influence with voters. Collaborating with fellow organisations in Laboratory Medicine has been a priority – both to broaden our base of credibility and to ensure that limited resources are pooled to the best effect.
This has involved close collaboration with the Royal College of Pathologists. Institute of Biomedical Science, Association of Clinical Pathologists and British In Vitro Diagnostics Association in the “Labs Are Vital” Initiative as well as a plethora of public facing events – many organised by our trainees – to raise local awareness and support “National Pathology Weeks”. We have also established an “Expert Panel” of our members to offer sound advice and guidance in our fields of expertise to journalists and other media representatives.
In recent years our membership has expanded, representing our increasing role in Laboratory Medicine as a whole and not just a single discipline. We will continue to develop in this direction, matching changes in the organisation of health services in the UK, and reflecting our increasing direct involvement with patients. We will continue to expand our collaboration with other relevant bodies to communicate our communication of policies and recommendations and with patient organisations to further our focus on the patient.
Review and update Annually
(This page is maintained by the ACB Government Affairs Officer)