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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 each of which will last for a minimum of 12 months covering the broad-based elements of histopathology training and will lead to the RCPath/IBMS Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD) in Histopathology Reporting - Gastrointestinal Tract Pathology/ Gynaecological Pathology/Dermatopathology.  

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: June 2021April 2021March 2021 December 2020. and September 2020.

Histopathology Reporting Training Grant - New Process from August 2022

The process for claiming funding has been updated and has moved from a retrospective to a prospective process. In short from this date 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 Reporting qualification. The employer will use the grant to support the candidate through the stage. 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 on Histopathology Reporting

May 2017 - The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) and Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) have come together to produce 'The Role of Biomedical Scientists in Histopathology Reporting: A Joint Statement from the RCPath and the IBMS'. The statement can be found here.

Articles on Histopathology Reporting in Biomedical Scientist

In 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.

In 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.

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

Bowel Cancer Screening Programme SOP Revision

October 2019 - The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme now recognises scientists who are qualified with the IBMS/RCPath Advanced Specialist Diploma 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/CPA 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

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 Training

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 of Training (CCT).

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. Please note that these documents are subject to change as processes may be amended as the qualification continues.

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Gastrointestinal Pathology

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Gynaecological Pathology

Guidance to Candidates and Trainers - Dermatopathology

Please note that the dermatopathology guidance is subject to change as the specimen types listed in the appendix may be amended.

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. 

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

Histopathology Reporting examination process

2022 - Assessment Arrangements (Updated 5 July 2022) - The current assessment arrangements for each Stage of the Histopathology Reporting qualification in 2022 can be found here. The application form for the submission of the portfolio can be found here.

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