Bulletin April 2016 Number 174

The April 2016 issue of The Bulletin continues to feature molecular pathology and there are exciting potential developments with the Science Museum regarding their new Health Galleries due to open in 2019.

Importantly, we also address the issue of ‘next generation staff’ – recognising that the traditional ‘wet laboratory’ skills need to be complemented by ‘dry laboratory’ expertise in bioinformatics. 

We need to consider where such expertise is to be found and how it can best be harnessed in diagnostic pathology laboratories.

It is spring and Council has agreed a strategy for ‘spring cleaning’ our impressive range of guidance documents and position statements. There are over 30 documents that have not had a recent refresh, so we have asked College departments and committees to agree which guidance is to be updated (and by when), and which documents can stand as the College position without further update. Once this exercise is completed, we will restore these documents to the website, clearly separating the historic from the current. This means that College members will be able to access older material without having to make a specific request.

If it’s not too depressing to be thinking about the autumn already, we have begun to plan National Pathology Week (NPW), which this year runs from Monday 7 to Sunday 13 November – perfectly designed to brighten up those grey November days. We will use NPW to continue to emphasise the central role of pathology in patient care, both in diagnosis and ongoing management of chronic illness. Now is the time to be thinking about planning a local event. See the ‘Public Engagement’ section later in these pages or contact amaka.nwagbara@rcpath.org for more information. Many trainees have a keen interest in engaging the public with their work, so please do involve them. The November Council meeting will be held in Newcastle during NPW, and we are discussing an event with local Fellows.

We’ve devoted some space in this issue to introduce our international colleagues, whose work is so important in promoting the work of the College worldwide and in developing education, training and high-quality diagnostics in resourcelimited settings. You’ll see in this section that port the College’s global health work. Naturally, they need sponsors, so please go on their website https://mydonate.bt.com/events/rcpathlondontoparis2016/293968 and provide what you can for this important work.

We continue to use every opportunity to emphasise the central role of pathology in healthcare. For example, we are in discussion with the Science Museum regarding their new Health Galleries due to open in 2019. A greater proportion of the Museum’s floor area will be given over to health, and we are keen that pathology runs as a thread through all the new galleries and themes. Also, in our next Annual Report, we wish to include the stories of specific patients whose management depended on pathology support, ideally from more than one specialty. Please let me know if you have a patient who would be willing for their story and photograph to be included.

We have had the first meeting of the new Lay Governance Group, chaired by Sir Rodney Brooke, one of our Lay Trustees. As someone put it at the meeting, lay involvement in our decision making is key to preventing ‘tunnel vision’ and ensuring that we view issues through the eyes of the patients we serve. Therefore, many of our key committees will now have a member from the Lay Governance Group. These include Ethics, Research, International, Quality assessment and three training committees, as well as the lay committee of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The group will also provide lay input to the College’s statements on issues of the day, such as seven-day working. There are currently 10 members, plus Trustee members, with vacancies for a further two to be recruited. If you know anyone who might be interested in joining, please contact David Bailey or myself.

Dr Lorna Williamson
Bulletin Editor