On a Boxing Day ward round in Nottingham in around 1983, I found the Infectious Diseases consultant trying (and failing) to raise anyone from Public Health – he had just diagnosed a family with diphtheria. Vaccination has had a chequered history in recent decades, resulting in far too many outbreaks of measles, in communities both affluent and deprived. At the same time, there has been real progress in the development of vaccines against meningitis, and in the veterinary world.
We will therefore focus on vaccination for two issues of The Bulletin. We start on page 149 with Dr Edward Jenner and his home, where it all began, then come bang up to date on page 151 with the regulatory route map that current developers of vaccines must follow. We review recent changes to the vaccination schedules, covering nasal spray against influenza (page 155), routine vaccination in infancy against hepatitis B (page 158) and prevention of meningococcal disease (page 161). Exciting developments in animal vaccines are covered on page 164.
In our October issue, we will look at the introduction of human papilloma virus vaccination for teenagers, including the impact on the cervical screening programme. We’ll also cover TB vaccination in badgers and some international perspectives. Such a fascinating topic.
The rest of this issue contains a richness of material and, as always, I’m most thankful for busy pathologists who take time to write for us – thank you and keep it up! I’m particularly grateful to trainees who find time to contribute – you are our future. Briefly looking back in time, this month sees the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Although it is easy to be ground down by funding shortages and endless reorganisation, this event reminds us how far pathology has come in 70 years. Four of our retired Fellows have kindly shared their experiences of laboratory medicine in the early days of the NHS – see page 168 for these wonderful accounts.
We are also using NHS70 as an opportunity to refresh our careers content and update our resources for public engagement activities (page 168), so please start thinking about events you might like to run during National Pathology Week, 4–11 November.
I have also chosen, on page 181, to celebrate the latest UK Nobel Prize, given to Richard Henderson and international collaborators. This is highly timely, as he was made a Companion of Honour in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He uses cryo-electron microscopy to resolve molecular structures – not that you’ll be seeing cryoEM in a diagnostic lab any time soon. In the last Bulletin, our theme was workforce, and on page 177, Gareth Rowlands provides further histopathology survey data – a must-read for all concerned. We continue to engage with parliamentarians on workforce and other issues, and have been gratified recently by our mentions in debates and questions from MPs – read more on page 185.
Our international activities (page 186) continue to bear fruit, with an agreement on antimicrobial resistance, mentoring opportunities and important information from the GMC on new verification checks.
With GDPR now in full effect, there are things you need to know – so please have a look at the inside cover and don’t skip page 183.
We have devoted this issue’s Working smarter section to a report by our Treasurer, David Cassidy, on his experience of establishing a lipid clinic – see page 191 for his tips.
This issue also contains an appreciation of our former President, Alastair Bellingham, who sadly died in December last year. His career and work for our profession was so well regarded by all, as was as his mentoring, friendship and viticulture.
With some lovely book reviews and a spot of controversy in the Letters section, you might even feel moved to pack this Bulletin in your holiday luggage.