12 June 2019

The winners have been awarded for their contribution to education, patient safety, innovation in pathology practice and contribution to specialty.

To celebrate excellence in pathology practice and promote high standards in pathology education, training and research to deliver the best patient care, the College launched the RCPath Excellence Awards.

Nominations were invited for teams and individuals from all professional backgrounds and disciplines.

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

The winners of the RCPath Excellence Awards for 2019 exemplify the best of pathology practice.

It’s wonderful to celebrate the amazing contribution pathologists and colleagues make to patient care. The winners combine dedication and commitment, going beyond the day-to-day to improve the working lives of their colleagues and the health and care of patients.

Category winners/citations 

Contribution to education

Team award - Hemel Hempstead Mortuary Staff and autopsy consultant histopathologists
The mortuary staff are excellent and go above and beyond to help with teaching. Overall the atmosphere in the mortuary service is positive, in what can be a difficult job. All staff are friendly, interested and are motivated and effective teachers. What sets them apart is their constant drive to push you to become a better autopsy pathologist by encouraging engagement.

Team award - UK NEQAS for Parasitology, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London
The UK NEQAS (External Quality Assessment Services) for Parasitology for taking a trailblazing approach to running educational workshops that improve patient care in the UK, Ireland and worldwide. The team has a strong track record of delivering high-quality training for UK NEQAS and the World Health Organisation. Sessions are extremely popular and delegates appreciate being taught by staff with many years of laboratory experience. Annual user days are also held which cover parasitology combined with other branches of microbiology.

Ms Ashleigh Dadson-Butt,  Health Service Laboratories, London
Ms Dadson-Butt is an advanced specialist biomedical scientist and training manager in medical microbiology in Health Services Laboratories (HSL) in London. Ashleigh’s passion for training and infectious enthusiasm shines through. She has co-ordinated educational supervisor consultants in the different centres alongside HSL managers to develop a structured curriculum in laboratory practice for core infection trainees, an induction day for rotational doctors interacting with the laboratory and case-based sessions for Higher Specialist Trainees, all of which have received excellent feedback and would not have been possible without her.

Professor Silvana Di Palma, Royal Surrey County Hospital, Surrey
Professor Di Palma is a lead Head and Neck, and Breast Pathologist and takes time out of her very busy schedule to select exam orientated cases to regularly teach trainees. This creates an excellent opportunity for trainees to see challenging and rare cases. She also reviews External Quality Assessment cases with trainees, which further enhances learning. Professor Di Palma is always available when help is needed, whether it is for work or personal issues.

Dr Ali Robb, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne
Dr Robb is passionate about laboratory medicine. She is an excellent role model and caring supportive trainer in microbiology. Through her leadership as the Joint Head of School for Laboratory Medicine in the North East, she ensures doctors in training experience high quality, cutting edge training across pathology specialities. Over the last three years, Dr Robb has been the driving force behind Path to Success, a training and recruitment day for junior doctors and medical students to explore pathology specialities in an interactive and imaginative way. Every event has been outstanding, receiving excellent feedback from delegates.

Professor Mark Wilkinson, University of East Anglia and Cotman Centre, Norwich
Professor Wilkinson is responsible for the implementation of high-quality pathology lectures at the University of East Anglia. He alone has been responsible for more than 95% of lectures within the pathology curriculum. He is well-liked by his students who speak highly of him; his colleagues are astonished at the amount of information and knowledge he has about pathology. Professor Mark Wilkinson is due to retire after a long and successful career as a consultant pathologist involved in undergraduate teaching

Innovation in pathology practice

Category winners/citations 

Team Award - Multidisciplinary team at Tayside Ninewells Hospital, Dundee
The team at Tayside have demonstrated the utility of Intelligent Liver Function Tests (ILFT) in identifying a group of patients who can be safely managed in primary care while also providing rapid diagnostic and management advice. ILFT harnesses advances in laboratory automation and technologies to ensure that, from a single request, clinicians are alerted to the fact that their patient may have liver dysfunction and what the cause of that dysfunction might be.

Team award - UK NEQAS Blood Transfusion Laboratory Practice, Watford General Hospital 
The UK NEQAS (External Quality Assessment Services) for Blood Transfusion Laboratory Practice has, for many years, served the UK and the wider transfusion community with state-of-the-art EQA Services including a very strong element of training and education. UK NEQAS activities cut to the very centre of patient safety and best practice. The Training Assessment and Competence Tool (TACT) developed by UK NEQAS BTLP exemplifies this by improving knowledge and assessing competency.

Dr Samir Dervisevic, Norwich & Norfolk University Hospital, Norwich
Dr Dervisevic has been working diligently for the past decade and more to promote virology training and education in the east of England and the UK. He has also contributed significantly to the service provision of virology for the local and extended trust, with a battery of novel next-generation tests that he procures tirelessly. He improves patient outcomes, colleagues’ working lives and departmental income. 

Ms Rebecca Gorton, Royal Free Hospital, London
Ms Gorton has single-handily transformed the hospital service given to its patients with malignant haematology. Her work was recognised by those planning Health Services Laboratories and services who chose to develop a dedicated mycology laboratory. Rebecca represents the entire medicine roadmap for clinical pathology. From a good idea and determination, personally taken through excellent service. To where it really matters for patients and her new service does exactly that.

Significant contribution to specialty

Category winners/citations 

Professor Sarah Coupland, University of Liverpool, Liverpool
Professor Coupland is an outstanding pre-eminent ocular pathologist in the UK and is internationally acclaimed for her work in ocular oncology. She has been instrumental to the care delivered to the world-recognised ocular oncology service in Liverpool through her pathology work, development of molecular and tumour signatures of ocular tumours, providing the evidence that informs treatments, prognosis and optimal patient care.

Professor Louise Jones, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London
Professor Louise Jones is an outstanding leader in pathology and a tireless ambassador for the specialty. As Professor of breast pathology, she leads a research group identifying biomarkers of breast cancer progression. Her dedication to improving breast cancer treatment led to the establishment of the national breast cancer tissue bank in collaboration with the charity Breast Cancer Now. She now leads the operational centre. As clinical lead for molecular pathology for the 100,000 Genomes Project, she has raised the profile of pathology nationally and ensured that pathologists will play a leading role in the era of personalised medicine.

Dr Prema Saraspathy Seetul-Singh, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford 
As Chair of the Microbiology Specialty Advisory Committee for the Royal College of Pathologists, Dr Seetul-Singh provided national leadership for microbiology members and contributed to general pathology issues as a Council member. Examples of Dr Seetul-Singh’s contribution to the College include completing national surveys and responding to NICE consultations on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), sepsis and healthcare-acquired infections. She worked with Health Education England and the Royal College of Physicians on recruitment to combined infection training.

Patient Safety

Category Winner/citation  

Dr Susie Shapiro, Oxford University Hospitals NHSFT, Oxford
Since her appointment in 2015, Dr Shapiro has led the successful development and implementation of a Direct Oral Anticoagulation Optimisation Service for Oxford Hospitals as well as surrounding Oxfordshire GPs. Dr Shapiro maintained many of the values of the Royal College of Pathologists whilst leading this project, including establishing excellent teamwork which she combined with an ambitious personal vision to deliver a service that held patient safety at its heart.