Bulletin January 2020 Number 189

A New Year and so many changes leaving us all a bit breathless! I am of course delighted to start as the new Editor for the Bulletin, taking over the baton from Lorna Williamson.

A New Year and so many changes leaving us all a bit breathless! I am of course delighted to start as the new Editor for the Bulletin, taking over the baton from Lorna Williamson. I have big shoes to fill but am heartened by the excellent support from the Communications department. It is great to start in a new role surrounded by knowledgeable colleagues who truly care about the College and who are painstaking in their efforts to be inclusive of the wider membership. So, with their support I aim to continue taking the Bulletin from strength to strength, ensuring representation from all pathology specialties, celebrating successes and highlighting challenges.

It is very apt to come in with the forward-looking theme of ‘Pathology in the 2020s’. Do the ‘new commissioning, organisational and operational models within the UK healthcare sector’ (pp7–8) provide unique opportunities to transform pathology? How do we ensure that within the fast-moving pace of change, pathology disciplines working so hard at providing a core function at the heart of the wider NHS are truly represented? Clearly, we collectively need to be involved in ongoing discussion if we are to influence wider decision making (pp32–33). The linked themes of workforce issues deserve a spotlight (pp31–32) and novel working practices will no doubt be a subject of ongoing discussion.

Developing the future generation of pathologists is clearly a central aim of the College. Two events in particular, ‘Path to Success’ held in Newcastle and ‘Discover Pathology Careers’ (pp18–19) highlight the successful efforts at bringing together potential new incomers and the many colleagues willing to give up so much of their time in inspiring them. We are clearly fortunate in attracting talented trainees into our various pathology disciplines and it is good to see them making a significant contribution to the Bulletin (pp41–43). The College of course also needs to innovate in relation to education and training as described in Shelley Heard and Jo Brinklow’s excellent review (pp12–14).

An inspiring update on the progress of ‘the Edinburgh Seven’ reminds us that the first women undergraduates in the UK in any subject were medical students at the University of Edinburgh (p46). We have clearly come a long way since then. The determined efforts of women to pursue a career in medicine and indeed pathology have really borne fruit not least evident by the remarkable achievements of our past and current College presidents and the outgoing chief medical officer. As highlighted by Lorna Williamson, the ‘Edinburgh Seven’ must remain an inspiration to students and trainees faced with the challenges of today. So, let’s respond to the rallying call to just keep going!

I have always found the tremendous participation of the collective pathology community in National Pathology Week truly impressive and the latest initiatives are no exception (pp15–17). Penny Fletcher and the team are exceptional in finding novel ways for us to channel our creativity towards promoting wider inclusion in the subject. I do hope that we will continue to use some of the excellent materials such as those designed by Lizzie Burns for ‘Incredible You’ (www.rcpath.org/discover-pathology/discover-pathology-resources.html) in ongoing engagement and dialogue between pathologists and the wider public. 

We will continue to represent various pathology disciplines within the ‘Small is beautiful’ section. This edition turns the spotlight on oral pathology, with a hugely informative article – I look forward to further contributions.

The International section is a timely reminder of the essential part we play in the global community. We celebrated International Pathology Day (p34) by hosting a one-day conference, organised in partnership with The Pathologist magazine as well as Sonic Healthcare UK and Visiopharm, to bring together a global audience to share their knowledge and expertise. Moreover, the report on pp35–36 on ARISE (African Research and Innovative Initiative for Sickle Cell Education) describes a consortium of various countries and institutions, including this College, sharing best practice in newborn screening, diagnosis and treatment of sickle cell disease towards improving disease outcomes.

We also saw the launch of a new initiative from Leica Biosystems that aims to start a conversation between representatives from the international pathology community and healthcare leaders to look at ways to improve cancer diagnostics (p36). 

Looking forward, future themes for the Bulletin will include the many advances in genomics applicable across our various disciplines and we will also focus on organ and tissue donation and transplantation. I would greatly welcome contributions and views from members on not just these themes, but across the breadth of topics covered by the Bulletin. I would also be pleased to hear about new suggestions and ideas and I look forward to hearing from you!