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Trainees Bulletin

The Leeds Meeting

It was great to see so many of you at Leeds. I particularly enjoyed seeing the huge number of posters presented by trainees based on research activities ranging from audit, to projects undertaken during formal research degrees. The breakfast meeting was particularly well received, along with the generous breakfast provided by our hosts at Leeds University. The topics discussed were workplace based assessment and the FRCPath autopsy exam. Professor Sebastian Lucas gave us an overview of the autopsy exam structure and of potential changes to the exam in future years. The goals and practicalities of workplace-based assessment were clarified by Dr Emyr Benbow. Everyone agreed the session went very well, and the full house of both trainee pathologists and consultants was testament to its success. The panel discussion focussing on work-life balance was a lot of fun, for both audience and speakers. I especially liked the advice from Dr Karin Oien that things have to be “good enough”, not always perfect! I hope we’ll be seeing more of these panel discussions in the future.


Why aren’t more trainees interested in academic pathology?

If the NHS is to provide excellence in patient care, research into new therapies and diagnostic techniques is necessary. Ask yourselves about the leaders in research within your own hospitals and universities – are they medics and surgeons or are they pathologists? It seems to me that pathologists are in an ideal position to undertake research, indeed our training gives us the skills that make us good researchers. So why aren’t more trainees pursuing academic pathology activities with the intent of leading on new treatment modalities for patients in the NHS?

Many clinicians pursue research during their training owing to stiff competition for consultant posts. There is a distinct possibility that heavy competition for consultant jobs may become a reality for pathologists in training in the next few years, paralleling the situation for other medical specialties. Coupled with proposals for future changes to the FRCPath examination that were touched upon during the breakfast meeting at the Leeds PathSoc conference, training in academic pathology may become a desirable career path for junior pathologists.

The Trainees’ Sub-committee will be asking all trainees to complete a questionnaire that we hope will reveal the real situation and perceptions about academic pathology amongst trainees in the UK and Ireland. Your participation in this questionnaire will be hugely valuable in supporting future training in academic pathology.


Existing opportunities for trainees interested in research

In conjunction with the Royal College of Pathologists, the Pathological Society has established collaborative networks for pathologists interested in research. These networks provide on-line communities for communication between researchers in pathology. They are very easy to use (the style is like facebook) – look at the website – and follow the links relating to registration. Join the technology and training community, as this is where job adverts and research opportunities are posted.

Finally, the PathSoc has opportunities for trainees interested in all types of research – from auditto form al research degrees. Funding of research projects within departments is becoming tight, so those of you interested in doing anything from small research projects to formal degrees should take a look at the awards available on the PathSoc website.


National Pathology Week

National Pathology week is an opportunity for pathologists to engage with the public and educate and challenge the public’s perceptions about pathology.

The Trainees’ Sub-committee will be taking part by holding an event that aims to educate school students about the benefits pathology research has had on the health of our society. The event is scheduled for the 4th November 2008 and will be held at the Hunterian museum in the Royal College of Surgeons. If you would like to take part in the event, please e mail me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


New faces

Katie Robertson and I are standing down as the co-chairs of the Trainees’ Sub-committee. The Trainees’ Sub-committee is now under the excellent leadership of Dr Ian Proctor, from University College Hospital. Dr Jubb from Oxford, Dr Miremadi from Cambridge, and Dr Verghese from Leeds have been elected as members of the Trainees’ Subcommittee. I wish all the new Trainees’ Sub-committee members luck in your posts, and hope you enjoy it as much as Katie and I have.

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