Haematology

What type of work?

Haematologists investigate, diagnose and treat diseases such as anaemia, leukaemia and lymphoma. They also care for patients with blood-clotting abnormalities and are responsible for ensuring that blood transfusions are safe and available when they are needed. Haematologists work in laboratories as well as with patients in clinics and on the wards. They can be involved throughout the patient’s journey, from the first hospital visit, through laboratory diagnosis to treatment. Hundreds of thousands of blood tests are done every day. Haematologists give advice to other doctors about any abnormalities that show up and may recommend further tests to get to the bottom of the problem.

What skills are needed?

Haematologists work with many groups of staff as well as with patients, so they need good interpersonal and written communication skills. They need to be able to discuss complex test results with scientists and doctors, and explain complicated diseases and treatments to patients and their relatives. Haematologists also need a very broad understanding of medicine as they treat patients who may have complicated medical problems. Haematologists are members of The Royal College of Physicians as well as The Royal College of Pathologists to reflect this wide role. 

There have been enormous advances in the understanding of blood proteins and the management of many conditions has been transformed in the last 20 years. Exciting and sophisticated new drugs have been developed to treat previously fatal conditions such as leukaemia and lymphoma. The preparation of blood products has improved the safety of transfusions and the treatment of clotting disorders.

Did you know? 

Over 130 million haematology tests are performed in England every year.