23 April 2024

The College would not exist without the hard work and support of our members. However, the same must also be said of our staff. Behind the scenes, every directorate at the College is working to deliver high-quality services that enhance the professional lives of our members. Together, we are constantly striving towards the College’s mission of promoting and advancing excellence in pathology, with our members at the core of everything we do.

We want to shine a light on these directorates and the work they do. We start here with the Professional Guidelines team who, alongside our volunteers and other teams in the College, produce our clinical guidelines and other guidance documents. By supporting our members in delivering the highest standards of patient care, these documents underpin the College's commitment to excellence in pathology practice.  

The College oversees the development and publication of a range of guidance documents, including NICE-accredited clinical guidelines and best practice recommendations. They cover areas such as cancer datasets and tissue pathways, autopsy guidelines, laboratory service standards and other specialised fields. Producing guidance is a vigorous and meticulous process that relies upon the incredible expertise of our member volunteers. 

We spoke to the Professional Guidelines Manager, Maria Marrero-Feo, to give us an insight into their work, its importance and how members can get involved.


How would you summarise the work of the Professional Guidelines team? 

The Professional Guidelines team plays a vital role in enhancing patient care through various channels.  

We lead the College’s Patient Safety Strategy and its work to support safer cultures and systems. We oversee the development and maintenance of clinical guidelines and best practice recommendations. 

The team also plays a crucial role in supporting the Professional Performance Committee (PPC) and administering the College's disciplinary regulations. 

Furthermore, we support the operation of the Working Group on Cancer Services (WGCS), as well as leading the College’s work on external quality assurance (EQA). All of this work underpins the ongoing commitment to excellence and safety in patient care within pathology. 

How does your work support College members? What are the benefits to pathologists, and the wider field of pathology? 

Our work directly benefits College members by providing a robust framework for clinical excellence and patient safety. The ability to access up-to-date clinical guidelines and best practice recommendations is essential for pathologists in delivering high-quality care. 

Our support for the WGCS ensures that pathologists are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary for diagnosing and treating cancer effectively.  

By upholding disciplinary regulations through the PPC, the team maintains the integrity and professionalism of pathology practice. This benefits the wider pathology community by promoting trust and confidence in pathology services. 

Our work in EQA benefits members by developing a robust framework for quality management in pathology. This supports safe, high-quality patient care across the health service. By participating in EQA schemes, members can also enhance their continuing professional development. 

How do members contribute to this work? 

College members contribute significantly to many aspects of our work. Our members participate in the guideline development process, offer expert feedback on best practice recommendations and engage in EQA schemes. Their expertise and insights are invaluable in shaping guidelines that are both scientifically rigorous and practically applicable. 

Many members are also involved in the WGCS, providing support and guidance. This close collaboration with members ensures that the College's work remains relevant and responsive to the needs of the pathology community.

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For you and the wider team, what are the most rewarding aspects of contributing to this work? 

The most rewarding aspect is knowing that our work has a direct impact on improving patient safety and the quality of healthcare. The development of guidelines leads to better patient outcomes, supports safer clinical practices and upholds professional standards across pathology. Contributing to this is profoundly impactful. 

Additionally, it’s incredibly fulfilling to collaborate with a wide range of experts, working together to drive forward the patient safety strategy and enhance the practice of pathology. 

What do you think the College's biggest accomplishments are within the Professional Guidelines team? 

We’re currently developing an updated Patient Safety Strategy, which will be a major accomplishment once implemented.  

We’ve made significant advancements in cancer diagnostics and treatment through the WGCS. Our work to enhance EQA has led to improved accuracy and reliability in pathology laboratories. 

Additionally, we effectively administrate the PPC and manage concerns and grievances raised through the disciplinary process, upholding high professional standards in pathology. 

And what are you most proud of? 

We take pride in the role of our team to foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning within pathology. We are proud of the comprehensive resources for pathology education that we develop. We also take pride in facilitating international collaborations to share best practices and improve pathology services globally. 

How can members get involved in the College's work in this area?  

There are lots of ways that members can get involved in our work. For example, they can volunteer to become guideline authors, contribute to EQA committees, engage with the Patient Safety Strategy or volunteer to become members of the WGCS.  

Furthermore, members can submit patient safety bulletins and other improvement activities for publications and awareness. There are exciting opportunities for members to lead educational workshops, seminars or webinars based on the latest guidelines and best practices, as well as writing audit templates that foster a culture of excellence and safety in pathology. 

Members can also get in touch with us to suggest areas of work that they would like the College to take on or improve. We’d love to hear from anyone who’d like to volunteer! Please contact us at [email protected] for more information.  

Get involved at the College: volunteer roles