7 January 2019

Today the NHS released its long-term plan for England. The plan has been drawn up by frontline staff, patients groups and national experts. It outlines the NHS strategy for the next ten years. 

Professor Jo Martin, President of the Royal College of Pathologists, said: 

'This ambitious and timely plan has some good elements for long-term care and mental health. The implementation of areas such as outpatient transformation will rely on the skills and expertise of all our pathology disciplines, from haematology to clinical biochemistry. All cancer and much chronic disease management, from initial diagnosis to guiding patients’ treatment, is dependent on pathologists and whilst cost reduction is mentioned in the context of tests, the importance of the right test at the right time, such as that for familial hypercholesterolaemia, is the key to effective good value healthcare.  

'The networks for pathology are already in place, and we have been advocating for better investment in digital support. The key part of the jigsaw is the support, recruitment and retention of our staff, and improving their working lives. Without this there is huge risk, and we will do all we can to continue to focus on our role, our skills and mitigating this risk.'

More information 

  • Approximately one in 250 people have familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), an inherited condition caused by an abnormal gene that means their cholesterol levels are higher than normal from birth.
  • In September, the College published the results of a workforce census that found that only 3% of NHS histopathology departments have enough staff to meet clinical demand. The census, Meeting pathology demand, focused on the histopathology workforce – the specialty vital to cancer management from initial diagnosis to guiding patients’ treatment.