Step Forward for Scientist Reporting in Histopathology

Step Forward for Scientist Reporting in Histopathology
24 May 2019
IBMS Deputy Chief Executive Sarah May reports back on a successful step forward for the histopathology workforce

Yesterday, alongside representatives from the RCPath and Health Education England, the Institute was part of a high level meeting to discuss the issue of scientist reporting in histopathology, which is facing a crisis due to the number of senior experienced consultant pathologists due to retire, a matter that is  compounded by low numbers entering training and an increasing workload that is set to grow due to the growing ageing population.

It was refreshing to encounter such open minded thinking, and the first principle to be established was that the use of scientists to report histopathology should not distinguish or differentiate between biomedical or clinical scientists. The IBMS/RCPath Advanced Specialist Diploma (ASD)  in Histopathology Reporting was seen as key in delivering a trained consultant scientist workforce to work alongside medical consultants that is achievable in a short time frame. The biggest impediment to achieving this currently is the absence of funding to support the intensive training that these individuals are required to go through. The group agreed to recommend to HEE that the funding of places for scientists to train for the ASD should be addressed.

As a further development, the IBMS/RCPath conjoint examination board will commence work on developing a more limited qualification to enable scientists to become trained and competent to report a limited range of samples that will include the biopsies taken as part of the bowel screening programme.

The outcomes of this meeting was an example of what can be achieved if the right people come together with a common will to achieve an objective and an open mind as to how best that objective can be achieved.

IBMS Deputy Chief Executive Sarah May

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