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Histopathology Reporting

Demonstrate the highest levels of knowledge and skill and advance your career with an Advanced Specialist Diploma 

The RCPath/IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Histopathology Reporting - Gastrointestinal Pathology/Gynaecological Pathology/Dermatopathology is a portfolio based training programme covering the broad-based elements of histopathology training.  The training has three stages covering the broad-based elements of histopathology training and will lead to the RCPath/IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Dermatopathology Reporting / Gastrointestinal Histopathology Reporting or Gynaecological Histopathology Reporting. 

September 2023: We are also pleased to launch two new limited scope reporting qualifications called the RCPath/IBMS ASD in Bowel Screening in Histopathology Reporting and the ASD in Cervical Screening Histopathology Reporting. The guidance documents for these documents can be found under the heading Curriculum Guidance. The application form has been updated to allow applicants to apply for any of the five pathways that are now available.

Histopathology Reporting Conjoint Board

Work on the Histopathology Reporting qualification is overseen by a Conjoint Board with members from both the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and the Institute of Biomedical Science. The Terms of Reference and current Conjoint Board membership can be found here. The confirmed minutes of the recent Conjoint Board meetings can be found here: September 2023April 2023,  January 2023September 2022, and March 2022,

Histopathology Reporting Training Grant (Full and Limited Scope Qualifications)

The IBMS will provide a training grant to the employer of £3,000 when the candidate commences each stage (A, B and C) of the 'full' reporting qualification.  A training grant will also be provided to the employer of £3,000 when the candidate commences either of the 'limited scope' reporting qualification. More information on what can be claimed as part of this training grant and the process for doing so can be found here.

Joint Statement: The Role of Scientists in Histopathology Reporting

September 2023 The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) have come together to produce a statement on 'The Role of Biomedical Scientists in Histopathology Reporting'. The original statement was issued in May 2017, the new statement issued in 2023 reflects developments regarding advanced roles for biomedical scientist reporting since this time. It can be found here.

Joint Statement: Scientist Reporting of Histopathology Samples: Practice and Competencies

A new statement on reporting competences has also been issued, read here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

The RCPath and IBMS held a joint meeting in November 2022 for those wished to raise questions about the Histopathology Reporting qualifications. The RCPath has produced an FAQ document that addresses the questions that were raised in advance of, and during the meeting. It can be found here.

Articles on Histopathology Reporting in Biomedical Scientist

July 2018: Dr Jo Horne, Dr Gerry van Schalkwyk and Mr Andrew Usher discuss the progress of the histopathology reporting programme and looked to the future. The article can be accessed here.

February 2020: Dr Jo Horne and Dr Bryan Green took a further look at the Histopathology Reporting Qualifications and developing an expert, collaborative histopathology team. This article can be accessed here.

September 2020: The team at Leicester Royal Infirmary shared their experiences of someone undertaking the qualification. This article can be accessed here.

April 2023: The IBMS Head of Examinations reviewed the success of the Reporting qualifications and highlighted the development of new limited scope reporting qualifications. That article can be found here.

Bowel Cancer Screening Programme SOP Revision

The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme recognises scientists who are qualified with the IBMS/RCPath ASD in Histopathology Reporting and who are employed as advanced practitioners or consultants to report bowel screening histopathology samples. For more details click here.

Further information

Who can apply for Histopathology Reporting

Applicants must be a Member or Fellow of the IBMS, a HCPC registered biomedical or clinical scientist, with at least five years experience post-registration experience. If you are a Member of the IBMS it is strongly recommended that you have completed the IBMS Diploma of Expert Practice in Histological Dissection in the appropriate pathology before apply to undertaking the RCPath/IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Histopathology Reporting.

You must also:  

  • be working in a UK laboratory which has UKAS accreditation
  • have the support of your department with a view to the candidate eventually becoming a member of the Histopathology Reporting Team
  • demonstrate a commitment from your Trust to provide both an Educational Supervisor and Clinical Supervisor who will support you through the training period

Histopathology Reporting Application Process

Following a decision made by the Histopathology Reporting Conjoint Board it has now been agreed that applications for the Histopathology Reporting qualification can be received at any time rather than only in one fixed application window each year. Interested candidates must complete the expression of interest form and submit along with the specified supporting documentation to examinations@ibms.org 

The appropriate form can be found here.

Histopathology Reporting - Stage D

September 2023 (Update) On the successful completion of the ASD a Stage D of training will need to be undertaken. This is a post-qualification 'preceptorship' stage that aims to support the individual to achieve a post-qualification competence and confidence consistent with that of a qualified medical consultant histopathologist to independently report defined specimen types.

Stage D of Histopathology Reporting

The above document must be read in conjunction with the document 'Scientist Reporting of Histopathology Samples: Practice and Competencies.' On completion of the Stage D qualification the Histopathology Reporting Conjoint Board makes a recommendation to the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) Council for candidates to be awarded their Certificate of Completion. Details of the deadline for the submission of the Stage D portfolio can be found under the examination process heading.

For Stage D for there to be sufficient time for the Conjoint Board to review the portfolio and make a recommendation to the College Council candidates must submit their completed portfolio

  • Friday 29 March for the June College Council Meeting
  • Friday 28 June for the September College Council Meeting
  • Friday 6 September for the November College Council Meeting

Histopathology Reporting curriculum guidance and model job descriptors

The guidance documents below provide information to both candidates and trainers on the requirements of Stages A to C of the Diploma in Histopathology Reporting. The guidance includes information on the curriculum and what needs to be included in the portfolio for each stage and the assessment indicators against which that will be assessed. It also includes information on the examination arrangements for Stage A and C.

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Gastrointestinal Pathology

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Gynaecological Pathology

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Dermatopathology

In addition please note that the guidance states a requirement for seven years post-registration experience however following a decision made by the Conjoint Board this has been reduced to at least five years experience post-registration experience. 

Changes in Assessment Arrangements: The Conjoint Board has agreed to changes in the assessment arrangements for the Reporting qualification which provide greater flexibility as to when a portfolio can be submitted. Details about these changes can be found here.

New Limited Scope Reporting Qualifications (September 2023)

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Bowel Screening Histopathology Reporting

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Cervical Screening Histopathology Reporting

Please contact the IBMS Examinations Team for further information.

Model Job Descriptors: The College is keen to support pathology services appointing consultant healthcare scientists. Currently, the College has a series of model job descriptions available, for consultant healthcare scientists who are employed to help cellular pathology services report on: 

  • gastrointestinal pathology
  • gynaecological pathology
  • dermatopathology.

These job descriptions have been created by the College in conjunction with the Institute of Biomedical Science and can be used to:

  • ensure your job description contains a proper balance of clinical activities and academic, research and managerial activities (where relevant)
  • check there are sufficient support and facilities to enable these activities to be performed
  • make the job description appealing to potential candidates.

They can be found on the RCPath website here: https://www.rcpath.org/profession/employing-pathologists/employing-healthcare-scientists.html

Position Statement on Role Requirements and Banding for Scientists undertaking Reporting within Cellular Pathology Departments

As an aid to departments wishing to utilise the opportunities offered by the scientist reporter the Institute has described in outline the expected job content, the qualifications required for each role and the appropriate Agenda for Change (or equivalent) pay grade. The position statement can be found here.

Online Learning Programme to Support Implementation of New and Revised Cancer Datasets and Tissue Pathways

The College is introducing a learning programme to support pathologists with the implementation of new and revised clinical guidelines which they think the IBMS membership may also be interested in. These free webinars will be presented by the guideline authors and will focus on the aspects of the guidelines that have changed, with practical tips on how to collect data, clinical scenarios for data items and ample time for questions. For more information please visit the RCPath website here

Events that Might be of Interest

London GI Pathology Update

https://www.rcpath.org/event/london-gi-pathology-update.html

British Division of the International Academy of Pathology (BDIAP)

https://bdiap.org/events/future_bdiap_meetings.aspx

British Association of Gynaecological Pathologists Events

https://www.thebagp.org/events/

Histopathology Reporting examination process

2024 (Update 18 December 2023) -  The examination arrangements for Stage A and C of the Histopathology Reporting qualification in 2024 have yet to be agreed with the College. As soon as the dates are known they will be published here and all registered candidates will also be contacted directly.  The portfolio assessment fee for Stages A, B and C in 2024 is £300 and the application form for the submission of the portfolio can be found here

For Stage D for there to be sufficient time for the Conjoint Board to review the portfolio and make a recommendation to the College Council candidates must submit their completed portfolio

  • Friday 29 March for the June College Council Meeting
  • Friday 28 June for the September College Council Meeting
  • Friday 6 September for the November College Council Meeting

Changes in Assessment Arrangements: The Conjoint Board has agreed to changes in the assessment arrangements for the Reporting qualification which provide greater flexibility as to when a portfolio can be submitted. Details about these changes can be found here.

Portfolio Submission Information:  The portfolio can be submitted via email to examinations@ibms.org. Due to the size of the portfolio this may be difficult so it can also be submitted by sending a link to the examinations@ibms.org email address to a  a shared drive such as Google Docs, One-Drive or We Transfer or via a USB stick. It is easier for the examiners if you submit the portfolio with different sections rather than as one large document.  The examiners do not want to see dozens of separate files that have to be downloaded as that makes the review process difficult and time consuming. The following are suggested sections/folders for your evidence (variations on this are acceptable) and these are not in any particular order:

  • Case Log  and Case Log Summary  - It must be clear which cases you have reported cases and there should be an overall summary. You may have separate file/tabs for those which you have 'only' dissected. There should also be error log either on a separate tab on a different spreadsheet.
  • Case Reviews - Think about how this is presented  but please do not include each review as a separate document
  • Multi-Source Feedback - The overall summary and the individual responses all collated into one document
  • Work-Based Assessments - either as one file or three separate files (one for Directly Observed Practical Skills (DOPs), one for Evaluation of Clinical Events (ECEs) and one for Case-Based Discussions (CBDs)) with appropriate reflection 
  • Educational Supervisor Report/ Progress Reports - as one document
  • Case Study
  • Audit
  • Evidence of Attendance at MDTs/MDMs - Could include overall spreadsheet that makes it clear what you did at each MDT - with notes/information on each MDT attended
  • Tutorials and Training Sessions - A simple spreadsheet with attendance certificates and reflection (No need to include the presentations delivered at the event

Applications to undertake the Stage A or Stage C exam must be made directly to the College. All the necessary information can be found on their website here

Stage A Mock Exam Event: Details of an event being organised and run by NEPSEC which has been rescheduled for June 2024 on the Stage A exam can be found here.