We were delighted to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Blood Cancer at their meeting in parliament on 4 September, during blood cancer awareness month, on ensuring rapid and accurate diagnosis of blood cancer.
The meeting was hosted by Henry Smith MP, chair of the APPG, who introduced the discussion with some of the issues around blood cancer diagnosis:
- Recognition of the signs and symptoms of blood cancer is low among the public and only 1% would feel ‘very confident’ in recognising the signs and symptoms of blood cancer.
- 52% of people asked couldn't name the signs or symptoms of blood cancer.
College President, Professor Jo Martin, spoke on the path to diagnosis and the expertise in the pathology workforce that supports this. Professor Martin focused on the breadth of expertise behind the diagnosis and gave an example of how a patient would be supported by an estimated 88 years of training and expertise across the pathology specialties.
Professor Martin also highlighted pathology workforce concerns, with a 28% vacancy rate predicted in consultant histopathologists by 2021, and the need for greater investment in IT. 30% of Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) are over 30 years old. These are vital to effectively manage samples, and associated data, and automate workflows.