Bulletin July 2017 Number 179

Welcome to issue 179, which features further articles on consolidation, celebrations of exam results and an update on Regional Councils.

This Bulletin will pop through your letterboxes as you’re packing buckets and spades for your summer holiday, and you’ll be thinking about holiday reading. While The Bulletin is neither grip-lit (successor to chick-lit, apparently) nor The Economist, I hope this issue will provide the right mixture of information, education and entertainment.

I had a complimentary email about April’s Bulletin (keep them coming please), reminding me that these three aims were those of the early BBC, as espoused by Lord Reith. I hope we’re giving you something that complements the scientific literature, guidelines and management bumf that surrounds you all day.

We have recently welcomed a new Managing Editor, Charles Howgego, to the Publishing team. Charles will have overall responsibility for all published output, be it paper or digital, including The Bulletin, Annual Report, guidelines and the website. Charles has a background in journalism, including the Guardian and The Big Issue. Please email myself or Charles with any suggestions for The Bulletin content or appearance.

We continue the theme of consolidation, with no fewer than five articles in this issue. From a joint venture with the private sector in central London and the south-west, to a network spreading out from rural Lincolnshire, these consolidations of service could not be more different. The article from Sheffield also points out how digital pathology can contribute to ‘virtual consolidation’ of cellular pathology services. The question is whether they achieve improved clinical care, value for money and long-term sustainability for the NHS.

Consolidation is a major ongoing issue for all of us. We will therefore continue the theme on the website, with a new section devoted to further contributions – accounts of your experience, short letters and other non-libellous comments will be welcomed. 

One area which all agree is essential for optimal service delivery is slick IT, ideally with one system across specialties and in a wide geography. The consolidation article by Esther Youd in the April Bulletin reported on the move to a single laboratory system across Wales. In this issue we hear from Miriam Griffin on the steps taken in Ireland to implement the MedLIS project, which will achieve a single system for all laboratories (except the private sector). We can only watch with envy.

For various reasons, we have no Small is Beautiful features this time – these will return in October. We do, however, have a new section on regional activities, starting with a report on the new England Regional Council. There is a huge amount of wonderful work going on across the regions, which deserves to be shared widely. This will be a regular addition to The Bulletin.

An essential read in this issue is the trainee survey, and we are grateful to Rebecca Halas for collating the findings. Trainees need to be nurtured, and the survey undoubtedly gives food for thought. 

Our public engagement activities are as strong as ever. We were very well represented at the Cambridge Science Festival, with the President’s virtual autopsy, my talk in partnership with a lung transplant recipient, and a very well attended stand on low allergy gardening. My Sunday afternoon helping on the stand made me realise what a big issue gardening is for the many thousands affected by asthma and hay fever. It is fitting that the College Medal this year was awarded to Jo Sheldon for her public engagement work, notably at the Chelsea Flower Show over many years. You can read her citation in the report of the New Fellows ceremony, at which research awards and the Furness prize were also presented. There is also a review of the book Jo wrote with Tim Wreghitt on Low Allergy Gardening.

Finally, I want to draw your attention to David Bailey’s article on his time as a College Vice President. With the current elections for new VPs, I hope his account will stimulate you to use your vote, and also to consider supporting the College in other ways, such as becoming an examiner or joining a Specialty Advisory Committee.

If nothing else, stick this issue of The Bulletin in your suitcase for when the excitement of your novel gets all too much.

Dr Lorna Williamson
Bulletin Editor

Lorna.Williamson@rcpath.org