I was fortunate to have a holiday in France where wearing masks and showing one’s ‘pass sanitaire’ seemed to be the new normal while stepping out and about. I suspect I am not alone in feeling rather uncomfortable returning to travel and leisure in many settings in the UK where masks seemed to be optional to the point of almost disappearing. Does this take our focus away from the need to perhaps maintain some caution and vigilance in a day-to-day situation that is anything but normal?
I suspect I am not alone in feeling rather uncomfortable returning to travel and leisure in many settings in the UK where masks seemed to be optional to the point of almost disappearing.
Joining the long queues for petrol also added to the somewhat surreal return from the late summer break. Will the problems with various supply chains be even more far-reaching and how will this affect our pathology work in caring for patients? We will certainly watch the unfolding situation and we aim to report back with a review in the January 2022 Bulletin.
The theme for this October issue is cancer: the innovative role of pathology – a topic that is certainly getting some deserved focus. I am really pleased that colleagues from the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) agreed to set the scene (pp 460–461) introducing a range of articles show-casing advances and the role of pathology in precision diagnosis (pp 476–485), screening and prevention (pp 464–466), and immunotherapy (pp 472–475) in the bespoke management of patients.
It is also good to hear about the role of the NCRI in steering initiatives towards developing international consensus guidance for pathology in oncology clinical trial protocols. Progress has been made despite the global pandemic, with the now familiar acknowledgement that improved communication supporting remote working, born out of necessity, has expedited many advances. The cancer backlog certainly needs much more attention with some staggering predictions around pathology resources, investment and workforce needed to support ongoing efforts to address this.
Digital pathology will clearly be an evermore important tool going forward but requires appropriate support for effective implementation with attention to the needs of trainees (pp 508–510). International Pathology Day this year (p 504) will explore collaborations between higher- and middle- to lower-income countries that will support the implementation of digital pathology and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in the laboratory. In the future, AI algorithms may help optimise the allocation of more appropriate genotyped blood for patients at risk of forming red cell antibodies, enabling more targeted blood collection from the donor pool (pp 495–497).
Patient safety remains at the forefront of the College’s activities and is reflected in articles on best practice guidance, an agreement with the Care Quality Commission to share information on safety risks ... and sharing top tips for running successful audit projects...
Patient safety remains at the forefront of the College’s activities and is reflected in articles on best practice guidance to create a single set of standards for delivering infection services (p 487), an agreement with the Care Quality Commission to share information on safety risks (pp 488–489) with trainees also actively involved, and sharing top tips for running successful national audit projects (pp 506–508). Better support for trainees is also an important theme in this issue, with a focus on how trainee workloads have met College guidance in the face of various current challenges (pp 512–514), the impact of encouraging rest and reducing excessive pressure (pp 510–511), and avoiding burnout (pp 493–495).
Our College essay prizes continue to show-case the enthusiasm and interest in pathology among undergraduates (pp 489–490) and Foundation doctors (pp 490–491). National Pathology Week (NPW) 2021 runs from 1 to 7 November with the apt theme of ‘All Together Now’ (pp 498–499). We invite healthcare teams, medical students, schools, community groups and families to explore the role of teamwork and the expertise across our 17 pathology specialties towards diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention.
Finally, our 2022 Bulletins will celebrate the College’s Diamond Jubilee and the achievements of pathologists across all our specialties. I look forward to your contributions.
Dr Shubha Allard