Histopathology workforce survey 2018

A UK-wide survey of histopathologists was conducted in 2017, to provide the College with a comprehensive a picture of Britain's pathology workforce. 

Through our survey, we sought to obtain a realistic idea of the number of vacant posts in the UK in this specialty, and will use the resulting data to influence organisations with the potential to address the problems identified, working towards finding solutions. Ensuring diagnostic services can cope with current and future demand is vital if we are to improve experience and outcomes for patients.

This survey did not involve the neuropathology, forensic or paediatric pathology workforce.

Key findings

Our survey found that there were serious shortages affecting departments across the country. 

  • Only 3% of histopathology departments said they had enough staff to meet clinical demand, and this demand continues to grow.
  • The cost of outsourcing services and using locum doctors is an estimated £27 million a year across the UK.
  • There is an approaching retirement crisis as a quarter of all histopathologists are aged 55 or over and there are insufficient trainee doctors in post to fill the gaps in the workforce.

Member-only reports

Dr Gareth Lloyd Rowlands, Consultant Histopathologist for Cardiff & Vale UHB and Chair of the RCPath Workload & Job Planning Working Group, analysed the anonymised data resulting from the survey. He has compiled the following summary of the reports, which are exclusive to download for our members.