Joint response to CRUK's pathology services report
The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), The Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine (ACB) welcome the CRUK report on pathology services, particularly the recognition that a well-trained workforce is key to delivering the objectives of the National Cancer Strategy.
The three organisations represent over 30,000 pathology professionals (medically qualified pathologists, biomedical and clinical scientists) working in the NHS, performing and interpreting millions of tests every year to give doctors the answers they need to be able to treat their patients. The tests include those for screening, diagnosis and monitoring of a wide range of diseases and are particularly important in the care of patients with suspected or confirmed cancer. Without pathology services there is no definite cancer diagnosis and appropriate treatment cannot be planned.
With an ageing population and a predicted sharp rise in the number of people who will develop cancer at some point in their lives, investment in pathology is more important than ever. If we are to diagnose cancers earlier and tailor treatment for individual patients, we need sufficient numbers of highly skilled pathology professionals.
The three organisations already work closely together to identify opportunities to develop the skills of pathology professionals and organise services to make the provision of NHS pathology as efficient as possible. But this depends on adequate numbers of appropriately trained staff, which costs money and takes time. It can take up to 15 years to train a pathology professional; action needs to be taken immediately if we are to develop the workforce needed to meet future challenges. Now is the time to increase investment in pathology services, particularly in recruitment and training, so that patients with cancer receive the care they need and deserve.
Mr Ian Sturdgess, President, Institute of Biomedical Science
Dr Suzy Lishman, President, The Royal College of Pathologists
Dr Gwyn McCreanor, President, The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Read a comment from IBMS President Sturdgess about this report.