Workforce Survey of Histopathology / Cellular Pathology Departments in the UK 2021

This survey, organised by the Royal College of Pathologists, is being sent to the lead cellular pathologist to complete, with one return requested per laboratory service. Many questions are tick boxes, however some will require more information and data collection. 

The results of this survey will be used to benchmark against the 2017 survey results, enabling the College to compare the data.  This is vital to inform discussions between the College, health agencies and government. These discussions will impact on capacity building and workforce planning.

Please note that you are able to save the survey part way through if you leave the page you are completing without pressing ‘Done’. This allows you to complete the survey in sections rather than all at one time, or pause to gather the information required.  However, you will need to be on the same device at all times in order to complete the survey in sections. 

Also note that a field can be left blank if you have no data or the question does not apply, rather than having to click on 'No'.
 
It may help you to look at the list of questions we are asking so that you can collate the answers before you start the survey. Please take some time to prepare your data.

Please note that this survey does not include the request for data specific to the workforce for Neuropathology, Paediatric Pathology or Forensic Pathology.

Please complete this survey by Tuesday 30th November 2021
 
Please submit your response by the closing date, even if you have not managed to collect a full data set. Receiving as many responses as possible will allow all relevant professional bodies to gain a better understanding of current practices in the UK. We are asking for some individual and departmental information to ensure that we do not double count or unintentionally misunderstand the data we receive. This information will be kept confidential. 

We hope you will find time to complete the survey, and we thank you in anticipation for doing so. The data will be analysed anonymously, and data will be shared in an anonymised format.

Please note that personal data will not be included in any reports.  We draw your attention to the RCPath Privacy Policy, to which we adhere. 

If you have any questions, please contact Reshma via email: reshma.patel@rcpath.org or telephone on 020 7451 6725

Thank you for your help with this important survey.

Key:        * indicates mandatory question

SECTION A: Contact details          

Contact details of person completing the survey. 

* 1.       Name                          ____________________________________

* 2.       Position                       ____________________________________

* 3.       Email address             ____________________________________

* 4.       Country (please indicate)  England / Wales / Scotland / Northern Ireland

* 5.       What region are you working in within the UK? (please indicate)

  • East Midlands
  • East of England
  • Kent, Surrey and Sussex
  • London
  • North East
  • North West
  • South West
  • Thames Valley
  • Wessex
  • West Midlands
  • Yorkshire and the Humber
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

* 6.       Organisation      Please type the name of your employer in the box.     

SECTION B: Department

Please provide details relating to the Histopathology/Cellular Pathology Department

7. Workload data for 2019 (approximate number is sufficient)  

Type of activity    
Number of requests in year 

Number of histology requests    
Number of wax blocks    
Number of diagnostic cytology requests    
Number of gynaecological cytology screening requests    
Number of post mortems    
Immunocytochemistry (ICC) test numbers    

Molecular activity    
Number of requests in year 

Number of Molecular requests    
Number of specimens prepared for FISH    
Number of specimens prepared for PRC/NGS    
FISH in-house    
ISH in-house    
CISH in-house

8. Workload data for 2020 (approximate number is sufficient)  

Type of activity    
Number of requests in year 

Number of histology requests    
Number of wax blocks    
Number of diagnostic cytology requests    
Number of gynaecological cytology screening requests    
Number of post mortems    
Immunocytochemistry (ICC) test numbers    

Molecular activity    
Number of requests in year 

Number of Molecular requests    
Number of specimens prepared for FISH    
Number of specimens prepared for PRC/NGS    
FISH in-house    
ISH in-house    
CISH in-house

9.  There has been considerable workload growth in recent years in genomic, molecular and immunohistochemistry testing of cellular pathology samples. Has this workload growth been accounted for/remunerated in your job plan? (N.B. we are interested to know whether you are getting more time to do more work)

  • Yes (specifically mentioning this work)
  • Yes (not specified however included by adding molecular testing into workload scores) 
  • No 
  • Don’t know 
  • Not applicable

10.  Does your department routinely report using digital pathology? Yes/No

11.  If yes, approximately what percentage of time is spent reporting using digital pathology?
       100%, up to 75%, up to 50%. Up to 25%, none.

12. Following the introduction of faecal immunochemical test (FIT) rollout testing, have you noticed an increase in workload? Yes/No

13. If yes, what percentage increase have you seen in GI biopsies? 

14. Is the GI biopsy service:

  • sub-specialised
  • general (everyone does the same)
  • or an intermediate model (please specify in the comments section)

15. Does the department use RCPath points to allocate work? Yes/No

16. Do you have any additional comments to add regarding RCPath points?

17. If you outsource any work, how much work?

  • number of annual requests
  • number of annual RCPath points
  • annual number of reporting DCC sessions

18. And, in confidence, how much does the outsourcing cost per year? Please specify to the nearest £1000.

19. What specialties are covered by the your department (drop down list)

SECTION C: Staffing

Please provide details relating to all Consultant Cellular Pathologists, currently employed in the department. N.B. sections for SAS doctors, locums and scientists are below. Please exclude externally funded sessions for non-histopathology related activity.

20. Please provide details of all Consultant Cellular Pathologists in the department:  

  • Number of PAs for DCC
  • Number of SPAs
  • Total number of PAs in contract    
  • Age range    
  • Retired & Returned?   
  • Likely to retire in 2 / 5 / 10 / > years ?

21. Is the current consultant establishment sufficient to meet clinical demand? Yes/No

22. If no, what would be the size of a sufficient establishment?  (please specify in full time equivalent)

23. How is excess clinical demand managed? Please tick all that apply

  • Additional PAs for existing staff
  • Waiting list initiatives
  • Locums
  • Outsourcing
  • Other (please specify)

24. If you currently have any vacant substantive consultant posts, please specify how many FTE posts are vacant.

  • Post/s vacant and allowed to recruit - number
  • Post/s vacant and not allowed to recruit e.g. due to financial pressures - number

25. If you have advertised a post in the last calendar year, how (easy or difficult) was it to recruit?
       Quite easy, Not easy, Did not recruit, Any other information (please specify) 

26. Do you have any SAS doctors i.e. Specialty Doctors, Associate Specialists and Staff Grade Doctors in the department? Yes/No

SECTION D: SAS Staff

If relevant, please provide details relating to SAS Doctors i.e. Specialty Doctors, Associate Specialists and Staff Grade Doctors, in Histopathology / Cellular Pathology, currently employed in the Department

27. Please provide details of Specialty Doctor (SAS Doctor) staff. 

  • Substantive or Locum?    
  • Total no. of PAs    
  • DCCs    
  • SPAs    
  • Age range    
  • Retired & Returned?   
  • Likely to retire in 2 / 5 / 10 / > yrs ?

28. If you have any vacant substantive posts for SAS doctors, please include the number of vacancies. 

* 29. Do you have any vacant posts covered by locums in your department? Yes/No

30. If yes, number of:  NHS Locums              Agency Locums

  • Consultant
  • Trainee
  • Healthcare Scientist
  • SAS
  • Other (please specify)

31. What are the reasons for your current Locums?  Please tick all that apply.

  • Covering for long term sick leave
  • Covering for maternity / paternity / adoption / shared parental leave
  • No suitable applicants at consultant level recruitment
  • Uncertainty about funding
  • Pending appointment
  • Possible or planned reconfiguration of service
  • Excess clinical demand
  • Other reason, please specify

32. In confidence, how much have you spent on Locums in the last year? Please specify to the nearest £1000.

33. Please provide details of all Consultant Healthcare Scientists and BMS in training for Advanced Specialist Diploma in Histopathology Reporting

  • AfC Band (e.g. BMS Band 5, 6, 7; Clin Sci Band 6, 7, …9)    
  • Age (5 year age bands e.g. 20 & under, 21-25, …61-65, 66+)    
  • Completed training? (Yes / No)    
  • Total no. of PAs    
  • Which programme? e.g. GI, gynae, skin   

34. What proportion of specimens are cut up by biomedical scientists? 

35. Do you currently have any scientists in training to report histopathology cases? Yes / No

36. If no, please indicate the reason:

  • no capacity to train
  • no backfill
  • no scientists at appropriate level of experience
  • not appropriate
  • Other (please specify)

SECTION E: Predicted requirements

Please provide information relating to predicted requirements for Consultant, Consultant Healthcare Scientists and SAS Doctor posts

37. What are your predicted requirements for additional posts in the next 2 years?

  • Consultant numbers:
  • Consultant Healthcare Scientist numbers:
  • SAS numbers:

38. Number of posts being advertised or to be advertised in the next three months?

  • New consultants:
  • Replacement consultants:
  • New Consultant Healthcare Scientists:
  • Replacement Consultant Healthcare Scientists:
  • New SAS:
  • Replacement SAS:

SECTION F: Coroners / Procurator Fiscal post-mortems

Details relating to Coroners  / Procurator Fiscal post mortems undertaken by the Department

* 39. Does your department undertake post-mortems for HM Coroner or Procurator Fiscal Yes/No

40. If yes, how many pathologists participate in the post mortem rota?

41. Are there currently sufficient pathologists to meet reasonable demands? Yes/No

42. If no, please specify the number of pathologists needed to meet reasonable demands. Please specify in full time equivalent.

43. How quickly are post-mortems usually (90% cases) performed after the date of request?

  • 2 working days or less
  • 3-5 working days
  • more than 5 working days

44. How are post-mortems accommodated within job plans?

  • Incorporated into NHS time
  • Performed outside normal working hours
  • Performed within normal working hours with time shifting of other work
  • Performed within normal working hours without time shifting of other work (considered minimal disruption)
  • Other (please specify)

45. Please give a rough approximation of the number of NHS consent post mortems undertaken in your department annually. 0-1, 2-5, 6-10, 11-20, 21-50, 50+, other (please specify).

SECTION G: Free text       

46. This is your opportunity to provide comments and/or additional information on any of the preceding questions. Please note that we are unable to reply to every comment, however your views are very important to us and we will endeavour to cover all the relevant issues in our report. If you have a comment or concern you wish to raise with the College, please email: reshma.patel@rcpath.org . Please provide comments here

Please press 'Done' to save your answers.

Thank you for completing this survey.  Your help is invaluable. Just to reiterate that the information that you have provided in this survey will be kept confidential and not shared with third parties.  

If you have any questions, please contact Reshma via email: reshma.patel@rcpath.org or telephone on 020 7451 6725

Dr Adrian Bateman                 Chair, Cellular Pathology SAC    
Professor Peter Johnston       Vice-President, Professionalism