National Pathology Week this year was focussed in Newcastle. The College’s events included three virtual autopsies centred round local historical events – plague and ‘Half-hanged McDonald’, a school visit, a ‘Path to Success’ visit for trainees and two days of activities at the Centre for Life. On top of that, we were successful in obtaining four pitches at the prestigious Science Museum ‘Lates’ event on global health with over 4400 attendees. Read more about all these events and more in the Public Engagement section.
One of the fun bits of National Pathology Week is judging our competitions. Thanks to Lizzie Burns, we had the input of a professional artist to the Art Competition. Although entries were down on last year, I hope you’ll agree that the winning adult entry (on the cover of this Bulletin) captured imaginatively the spirit of the topic, ‘Animals in pathology’. Our undergraduate essay competition, ‘The impact of travel and migration on global health’, attracted a strong field of entries and the excellent winning essay by Paul Tern Jie Wen is featured in this issue. We also identified an excellent runner-up, Owen Duffey, whose essay was worthy of a letter of commendation.
This year, as well as International Pathology Day, the College’s International Department organised an event on the theme of ‘Pathology is Global’. Both events were hugely successful and demonstrate the energy and commitment that so many College members, Fellows and staff have to furthering our work globally. A bit of breaking news is the wonderful win of the Times Higher Education (THE) awards for Lab Skills Africa. Please see the International section of this issue for exciting details! You may remember that in the October issue I indicated that we would use 2017 to showcase developments in the smaller specialties of pathology, with a theme of ‘Small is Beautiful’, since we no longer include summaries from the College’s Specialty Advisory Committees in the Annual Report. Well done to the veterinary pathologists for being first, and I look forward to other specialties following.
On the subject of the Annual Report, we have had excellent feedback about its style and content, so again a huge thank you to the clinicians and patients whose stories are featured, and to the Publishing team for such a beautiful production. I’m told it is being shared with family and friends – one for your coffee table, no doubt.
This issue also contains unsolicited articles on different aspects of measurement. Apart from my delight in receiving spontaneous contributions to the Bulletin, I found these fascinating. I confess to a somewhat geeky interest in measurement. My killer interview question for researchers used to be ‘What is the difference between precision and accuracy?’ (I was not a popular panel member). This issue is obviously of importance in regulation as well as in daily practice. I was recently asked whether mortuary scales need to be calibrated to the same levels of accuracy (and indeed precision) as laboratory balances? One regulatory body seems to think so. Correspondence on any aspects of measurement is encouraged.
We have agreed that, from now on, the Bulletin listings of consultant appointments will include clinical scientists as well as medics. This will be easier now that the College is gaining representation on clinical scientist appointment panels, since we depend on the College representative letting us know who was appointed, or indeed if no appointment was made. Please let me know of any appointments that we’ve somehow missed.
Finally, we continue to engage scientifically with a range of other organisations. This Bulletin contains reports from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sepsis, and on the launch of a joint report with The Royal College of Psychiatrists on the physical health of people with mental illness, at which our Vice President for Professionalism, Lance Sandle, gave a talk
Finally we launched our updated Sudden unexpected death in infancy and childhood guideline on 30 November at The House of Lords. Production of this document involved input from a number of agencies and charities – a great example of pathology as part of the clinical team.