A survey by the Royal College of Pathologists has found that only 3% of the NHS histopathology departments that responded had enough staff.

Of the 158 departments approached, 103 responded. Only 3% said they had enough staff to meet current clinical demand. A further 45% of departments have had to outsource work whilst half of departments have had to employ the services of locums.

The Department of Health and Social Care have responded to the report stating “There are hundred more pathologists in the NHS compared to 2010 and hospitals have reduced spending on temporary agency staff by over half a billion pounds in the last year. We are listening to staff encouraging more flexible working and have increased medical training places for home-grown doctors by 25% to ensure the NHS has the workforce it needs for the future”.

Professor Jo Martin, President of the Royal College of Pathologists, states “For patients, it means worrying delays in diagnosis in treatment”. She went on to say “We estimate the cost of locums and outsourcing work is £27m each year across the UK health service, money that could be better invested in staff and new diagnostic equipment”.

The report states that due to the new NHS screening programmes histopathologists are now facing intense pressure of increasing workloads. There is also the worry of an approaching retirement crisis with a quarter of all staff aged 55 or over. She worryingly went on to state “If this trend continues unchecked, clinical services could be in jeopardy”. She added “Making sure pathology services can cope with current and future demand is essential if we are to ensure early diagnosis and improve outcomes for patients”.

Freeths LLP Clinical Negligence Solicitors have years of experience in dealing with cases arising from misdiagnosis and delays in diagnosis due to issues with interpretation of histopathology. If you think that you or a loved one may have received negligent treatment due to incorrect sampling, interpretation or delay in diagnosis, please contact one of our national team:-

Siobhan Genever, Director (Nottingham) on 0845 271 6793 or siobhan.genever@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes/Birmingham) on 0186 578 1019 or carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke/Birmingham) on 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester) on 0845 272 5724 or jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For further information please visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/

 For more on this report please see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45497014