Histopathology Jobs in the UK – a guide for Hong Kong pathologists

  • November 01, 2022

Are you a histopathologist from Hong Kong looking to live and work in the UK? Do you want to know how to find the best jobs for overseas pathologists in the NHS?  

With recent experience of working with Hong Kong Pathologists on their journey to the UK, we thought that we’d share a few snippets of information to help get you started.  

In this blog we will cover the following topics: 

Skip ahead to the relevant section if you know what you’re looking for. 

Requirements to work in the UK

To be eligible to work in the NHS, histopathologists from Hong Kong must have full GMC registration – this requires completion of the Royal College of Pathologists exams in the relevant specialty I.e. histopathology (FRCPath), as well as an English language exam and Certificate of Good Standing (CGS). 

From our experience, the majority of Hong Kongers are either aware of the UK Royal College exams or have already completed these as part of their specialist pathology training, so great news - you are more than likely already halfway there! 

If you are unsure about the requirements for FRCPath, you can find an overview of FRCPath Histopathology here

How Hong Kong Pathologists fit into the NHS

Pathologists from Hong Kong are a great fit for the NHS. And no matter your specialist training or sub-specialty interest in within histopathology, our NHS clients would consider you to be a high calibre candidate. Why? The training in Hong Kong is thorough and highly regarded here in the UK among NHS clients.  

If you are not sure about how your experience will translate to working in the NHS, then we are here to help - IMG Connect are experienced working with all areas of sub-specialty within pathology, across all major organ sites.  

Senior Histopathology Jobs in the NHS

This all depends on the experience and qualifications you gained in Hong Kong. Whilst there are a lot of similarities between our two healthcare systems, there are also a lot of differences too.   

Attaining full FRCPath demonstrates the ability to report on cases and as such typically qualifies candidates to work independently as consultants in the UK. Think of it as like the FHKCPath and the accompanying Fellowship of FHKAM (Pathology) examinations.    

NHS clients will look out for your experience and training combined with this postgraduate qualification in order to work out what level you will start at.  

For consultant histopathologists who have already completed their anatomical pathology specialist training in Hong Kong, you will most likely enter the NHS as a locum consultant or in other senior positions such as Specialty Doctor (SAS), or Specialist Grade. This is generally up to the NHS Client, although, if starting in a specialist position, the aim here is that you will receive support to acclimatise to the UK system, in order to quickly work towards a consultant post. This will be agreed before your arrival in the UK.   

There is demand in all areas of histopathology, particularly at the consultant level. So, it is important to understand where you fit into the NHS, and we would be delighted to guide you through the process. Send in your CV or register with us through the buttons above or below, and we will arrange an informal chat with you to discuss your job options in full.   

Finding NHS Histopathology Jobs

You can get full access to the most recent histopathology job postings straight to your inbox through IMG Connect. 

The latest NHS pathology jobs cover general histopathology and cytology, as well as a number specialised or part-specialised posts where you may report one anatomical area extensively, or perhaps 2-3 areas. With just a few clicks, you can create an account and customise job preferences to receive email alerts on job that suit your professional and personal needs. 

Sign up here to receive up-to-date information on NHS jobs which you can tailor to your job preferences and receive straight to your inbox.  

CESR for Hong Kong Pathologists

As the UK FRCPath qualification is not commonly taken during the Hong Kong residency programme, CESR presents itself as a more favourable option for some.  

CESR is a big process that involves submitting around 800 - 1000 pages of verified evidence that you’ll need to gather from the last 5-6 years of clinical practice, either in the UK or overseas.  

Given the Hong Kong Royal College of Pathologists' curriculum is so closely aligned with the UK’s Royal College, pathologists from Hong Kong are actually some of the best primed to attain Specialist Registration via CESR, without working in the UK first. 

Whether it’s quicker to complete FRCPath, or to prepare a CESR application directly from Hong Kong, entirely depends on your background and experience. With that in mind, if you want to understand more, please send across a copy of your CV to our team and we can talk you through your options.  

For a detailed guide on CESR for histopathologists, see our IMG Resources library

Routes to the UK for Hong Kong Pathologists

The standard test of knowledge in the Histopathology curriculum in the UK is FRCPath Histopathology, although you do not need this to register with the GMC. 

There are four main routes to the UK for Hong Kong pathologists: 

The differences between these routes can be best understood through our explainer blog here

Essentially, whilst FRCPath can be more time-consuming and expensive than other routes, our advice is that it is well and truly worth the investment – histopathology is a consultant-led specialty in the UK and therefore FRCPath Histopathology opens up many more opportunities (particularly for more experienced pathologists) than alternatives such as PLAB or Sponsorship. 

Clients look out for FRCPath, and combined with your experience, this will move your CV to the top of the pile.   

As discussed above, although Hong Kong histopathology training is well aligned with the UK system, CESR can either be an easier or more arduous route to GMC Registration depending on your level of experience.  

Remember however: 

CESR = Specialist Registration and FRCPath = General Registration 

If you would like to pursue the CESR route and would like to know more about pathology jobs that offer CESR support, do get in touch

If you are just beginning your journey through the FRCPath Histopathology exams, please see our blog here for an overview of the exams. 

We also have an online IMG Histopathologists community on Facebook which as well as providing support and resources on FRCPath, also offers guidance on GMC registration and other aspects of relocating to and working in the UK. 

How to Register with the GMC

Once all the necessary components for GMC registration have been completed, Hong Kong IMGs can then apply for full GMC registration with license to practice.  

There are further checks involved in the registration process, such as verification of medical degrees, however these are steps that will be taken care of with your IMG Connect recruitment specialist. 

However, if you’d like to learn more about these processes, you can find information in our blog breaking down the steps to GMC registration for overseas doctors here.  

Visas for Hong Kong Doctors

Honk Kong residents with British National (overseas) status can apply to travel to the UK to live for up to five years with dependent family members, through the British National (Overseas) visa.  

You also have the option of securing a Skilled Worker visa, or Health & Care visa to give the most recent term. We know that securing a visa in Hong Kong can be challenging at the moment, so if you think that the Health & Care Visa is a good option for you, don’t hesitate to connect with us to discuss your options.   

For a detailed guide to your visa options as a Hong Kong doctor, you can read our blog discussing the differences between the Tier 2 Skilled Worker and BNO visas here.  

Getting started

We are here to help with all questions, big or small, whether you are starting out on your journey or ready to look explore jobs. Register below or get in touch to speak with one of our dedicated histopathology recruiters.  

We hope this helps and wish you the best of luck in your search!   

To receive the latest news and updates on all things histopathology, including the Royal College, GMC registration and the NHS, follow us on social media and join the conversation:



Relevant Jobs

99,532 - 131,964

A Northern English NHS Trust is looking for a Consultant Histopathologist to join their team at. They are considering either UK or overseas-trained doctors for a permanent contract type. The trust will support with CESR support for those who are looking to attain CESR and Specialist Registration. This is a high performing and friendly department for overseas doctors new to the NHS, or UK-based doctors looking to further careers in the UK.

This is a great job for any overseas Pathologists looking for CESR-support and great career development in a beautiful part of England.

What is the NHS Foundation Trust like?

The NHS Foundation Trust offers top-notch hospital and community healthcare services to a population exceeding 400,000 individuals across several areas/ With two primary hospital locations boasting a combined total of 553 beds, and their hospitals situated approximately 15 miles apart - along with a community hospital, the Trust ensures comprehensive care coverage. Its extensive range of services and specialties includes Bariatric Services, Orthopaedics, Urology, Cardiology, Diabetes Care, Elderly Care, Emergency Care, Gastroenterology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Radiology, Respiratory Medicine, Rheumatology, Stroke Care, Critical Care, Neonatology, Pain Services, and Pathology.

What is the department & team like? 

The Histopathology Department is staffed by a dedicated team of consultants and junior doctors committed to delivering outstanding patient care. The team comprises experienced consultants and supportive junior doctors, ensuring comprehensive coverage and expertise in diagnosing a wide array of cases. The department is actively involved in the diagnosis and management of diverse histopathology and cytology cases, encompassing oncological, gastrointestinal, dermatological, and respiratory conditions, among others.

They offer a range of treatments tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient, with a focus on delivering timely and accurate diagnoses to support effective treatment plans. Equipped with advanced facilities and state-of-the-art technology, the department boasts modern laboratory equipment and diagnostic tools. These resources enable them to efficiently process and analyze histopathological specimens, facilitating prompt and precise diagnoses.

On average, the histopathology department handles a substantial volume of cases each year, covering a broad spectrum of pathology types. Through the collaborative approach and commitment to excellence, they strive to uphold the highest standards of patient care and contribute to advancements in diagnostic medicine.

Career Development & Opportunities Available

The Trust and Histopathology team are dedicated to supporting their doctors career development through. For example, the new appointee will have the opportunity for the development of teaching experience as they would be expected to undertake formal and informal teaching of trainees within the department, and participate with other consultants in teaching/lectures as part of the Trust’s postgraduate education program. There will also be the opportunity for the development of personal research interests through the Research and Development Department. Research is highly encouraged at this trust and is undertaken during SPA sessions. The new consultant will also be able to increase their experience in MDTs, as these are regularly held within the department. 

Life in North East

The North East of the UK offers a diverse blend of rural and urban settings, providing both tranquility and vibrant city life. Residents can explore scenic landscapes such as the Northumberland Coast or enjoy cultural attractions in cities like Newcastle upon Tyne. The region boasts esteemed universities like Durham and Newcastle, along with quality schools. Transportation links are well-established, connecting the area to major cities and airports. Housing options vary from historic properties in market towns to modern developments in bustling urban centers, catering to diverse preferences and lifestyles.


EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Histopathology
  • Specialist European Qualification in Anatomic Pathology
  • Full and Specialist registration (and with a licence to practise) with the General Medical Council (GMC), or be eligible for registration within six months of interview.
  • An understanding of Clinical Governance

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • FRCPath
  • Full and Specialist registration (and with a licence to practise) with the General Medical Council (GMC), or be eligible for registration within six months of interview.
  • An understanding of Clinical Governance

UK based applicants

  • Full GMC registration
  • Within 6 - 12 months of completing CCT
  • An understanding of Clinical Governance
50,00 - 80,000

IMG Connect are proud to be representing NHS England in the recruitment of a paediatric & perinatal fellowship role, providing overseas pathologist the access to specialist registration / CESR in their field, without the need to enter specialty training. With the opportunity to work in either one or multiple of the UK\'s largest and most established NHS pathology departmetns, this Fellowship in Paediatric and Perinatal Pathology is ideal for either paediatric pathologists with extensive overseas experience, or young-aspiring pathologists with a strong interest and desire to train further in paediatric & perinatal pathology.

The Fellowship is designed as an 18 month training programme for international medical graduates who are experienced paediatric/perinatal foetal pathologists who are willing to work as consultants in this field in the UK. You will work and train in one or two of the NHS\'s largest and most renowned institutions.

Am I eligiible?

  • Full FRCPath Histopathology is desirable
  • FRCPath Part 1 is essential
  • Current active duties in adult autopsy
  • 5-years histopathology experience, including some performance of perinatal autopsies as well as adult autopsy.
  • Pass in either IELTS or OET
52,530 - 82,000

Opportunity for a Consultant Histopathologist at a major University Hospital in the Northeast of Engalnd. The role offers the chance to contribute significantly to pathology services within a regional pathology hub, working with a skilled team of 12 consultants delivering a comprehensive cellular pathology reporting service to a diverse population across several towns, and totaling 1.6 million residents.

This role is particularly advantageous for overseas Consultant Histopathologists aspiring to establish themselves in the NHS. Suited for candidates with specialization in the European Economic Area (EEA) or experienced International Medical Graduates (IMGs) seeking completion of the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR), it provides a unique pathway for professional growth.

The Histopathology Department is a centre of diagnostic excellence, the department handles a diverse caseload, offering comprehensive care ranging from routine diagnostics to complex pathology. 

Their main hospital is a major teaching and trauma center with 1,024 beds, a 24-hour acute admissions unit, and an emergency department. The Trust\'s dedication to research and development is evident through active participation in regional and national research programs and clinical trials. The Research and Effectiveness department within the Trust facilitates project coordination, supporting innovation. A specialized member of the research staff brings expertise in managing the pathological aspects of clinical trials.

The urban hub, offers residents a dynamic living experience with access to scenic parks, cultural attractions, quality schools, and Teesside University. Robust transportation links connect Middlesbrough locally and to major cities and airports. Housing options, from historic residences to modern developments, cater to diverse preferences, ensuring a vibrant urban lifestyle with green spaces and educational excellence.


EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Histopathology (essential) 
  • European Specialist Qualification in Anatomical Pathology

Non-EEA Candidates:

  • FRCPath (essential)
  • ???????Experience of working for Histopathology (essential)

UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Histopathology (essential)

52,530 - 82,400

An excellent NHS Foundation Trust is inviting applications for the position of Trust Grade Specialty Doctor in Histopathology. This full-time role is ideal for experienced histopathologists looking to advance their careers within the UK’s esteemed NHS framework. This position offers the potential for highly experienced specialty doctors to progress to the specialist grade. The role promises a healthy work-life balance as it comes with no on-call commitments. The successful applicant will join a dedicated team of Consultant Histopathologists, a specialty doctor, and supportive secretarial and laboratory staff. The position includes access to CESR support programme.

Overseas applications from experienced Specialty Doctors and Consultants are welcomed. 

What is the NHS Foundation Trust like?

The NHS Foundation Trust is a district general hospital trust managing three hospitals. The Trust serves the different towns, delivering a broad range of medical services. They are performing at a good level across their services and continuously provides huge opportunities and benefits to the way they deliver patient care. The Trust focuses on delivering excellent general hospital services, serving a population of approximately 750,000 with the help of more than 9,000 staff members. The hospitals have around 1,100 beds in total, offering services including General Medicine, General Surgery, Neurology, Rheumatology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Gynaecology, and Paediatrics.

The Trust achieved foundation status in 2005 and, in October 2020, merged two of its hospitals to create a new organization, establishing one of their hospitals as the emergency care site and another as the planned care site. The Trust remains dedicated to continuous improvement, striving to provide high-quality, patient-centered care across all its facilities.

What is the department & team like?

The Histopathology Department is a highly specialized unit. The department is staffed with a dedicated team of five full-time equivalent (WTE) Consultant Histopathologists and one Specialty Doctor. They are supported by a team of Biomedical Scientists (BMS) at various levels and trainees/associate practitioners, with secretarial staff providing essential administrative support.

Annually, the department processes approximately 22,000 surgical requests at one of their sites alone, with around 17% originating from GP users, and similar volumes reported at their other hospital. The department handles a wide range of cases including Urology, Colorectal, Breast, Upper Gastrointestinal, Dermatology, and Lung biopsies. The department is notable for being a Breast and Bowel Cancer Screening Centre, dealing with Head and Neck, Endocrine, Medical Liver biopsies, and Gynaecology among others.

Facilities at the department include an advanced processing laboratory, immunohistochemistry services, and limited molecular genetics capabilities. The department is fully accredited with ISO 15189:2012, ensuring high standards in diagnostic accuracy and patient care. Operating Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 17:00, the department is committed to continuous improvement and the integration of new technologies such as Digital Pathology to enhance service delivery.

Career Development & Opportunities Available

With an extremely active education/teaching programme supported by the consultant team, there is opportunity to work towards and complete CESR, get involved in active research and many aspects of CPD. Participation in research and educational activities will be encouraged.

  • Attractive salary and relocation package
  • Training and development opportunities
  • CESR support for those eligible
  • Tier 2 Health and Care Visa (sponsorship for the whole family)
  • Guidance regarding the CV and full interview preparation
  • Assistance regarding the GMC registration, visa, accommodation and transportation by an experienced onboarding specialist
  • Complete IMG Relocation service from start to finish of process
Life in the area

Nestled along England\'s picturesque south coast, the area offers a unique blend of urban amenities and coastal charm. Doctors enjoy proximity to both bustling city life and tranquil seaside retreats. Residents indulge in sailing adventures around harbour or stroll along its sandy beaches. The area boasts reputable schools and universities, nurturing young minds for future success. Transportation links are robust, with easy access to neighboring cities like Bournemouth and Southampton, as well as major airports. Housing options range from waterfront apartments to quaint cottages, catering to varied tastes and lifestyles. Poole epitomizes the quintessential coastal living experience.

Am I eligible for this role?

UK based candidates:

  • Experience in Histopathology
EEA candidates: 
  • Experience in Histopathology
  • FRCPath
Non-EEA candidates:
  • FRCPath
  • Experience in Histopathology

A fantastic opportunity awaits Histopathologists seeking a fixed-term position. This Pathology Services provides support for CESR accreditation and facilitates entry into specialty training within the NHS. The department is both high-performing and supportive, particularly welcoming overseas doctors new to the NHS or UK-based doctors seeking career advancement. They deliver pathology services to their acute hospitals and local GPs, with some laboratories offering specialized services to the wider NHS and engaging in research studies. Serving 1.76 million patients and conducting 60 million tests, the partnership has resulted in 27,000 additional community phlebotomy appointments, improved turnaround times, and streamlined workflows.

The Pathology Service thrive on a dedicated workforce leveraging cutting-edge technologies, delivering exceptional clinical services centered on patient care.

What is the Pathology Service like?

The Pathology Services comprises four pathology laboratories. These laboratories are responsible for providing pathology services to both acute hospitals and local general practitioners. Additionally, certain laboratories within the network offer specialized services to the broader NHS and engage in research studies and trials. As part of a significant initiative within the NHS, pathology services in England are undergoing reorganization, transitioning into larger local network models. This restructuring has led to the establishment of 29 pathology units nationwide.

This development positions the pathology service as an exceptionally appealing workplace, situated at the forefront of NHS innovation and digitalization in pathology. Despite these advancements, this pathology service remains committed to delivering the latest tests and services, incorporating cutting-edge clinical science into modern patient care. Currently, they manage approximately 120,000 cases with a team of 36 consultants (augmented by some outsourcing), with the capacity to expand its consultant team to 40 full-time positions.

What is the department & team like? 

The Pathology Service was established following the Lord Carter review of Pathology services in England, aiming to reduce overtesting, enhance resilience, and lower costs. amalgamates staff, services, and IT platforms from four trusts to enhance pathology quality in the Black Country, serving 1.4 million individuals and conducting 60 million tests annually. It underwent a comprehensive IT system overhaul to facilitate integrated services, embrace new technologies, and expedite laboratory results.

The pathology service operates three laboratories offering nationally accredited consultant-led pathology services. With state-of-the-art facilities and IT systems, they garnered commendation from Lord Carter for its efficiency and innovation in pathology. Notably, innovations showcased during Lord Carter\'s visit in 2021 included pre-barcoded tubes for sample tracking and digital automation in microbiology labs.

Lord Carter praised the service as a model of service integration and technological advancement, emphasizing the importance of technology, including artificial intelligence, in expediting diagnostics. He commended the leadership and dedication of the staff, highlighting their achievements and commitment to patient care. The evidence is there to be seen, as latest figures show they scored 92 per cent compliance on a dashboard provided by NHS Improvement, ranking it one of the best performing services in the country 

Career Development & Opportunities Available 

Career development opportunities are aplenty. The Centre is one of the highest performing centres in the UK, with excellent CQC scores, a fantastic leadership team, and highly advanced specialist reporting functions. All of this provides an excellent platform for anyone to excel and develop, whether it\'s a step towards specialisation in one anatomical area, or whether it\'s advancing yourself in the world of digital pathology, the right individual can really flourish here.

Digital Pathology and AI is a massive part of what the Group are doing, and part of what makes this opportunity so exciting. Working from home, working abroad, or taking on additional workload out of hours - digital pathology is taking off. They are the most advanced Digital Pathology Service in the UK, and this provides everyone with huge opportunity to grow and develop in a really exciting global field of pathology.

Life in the West Midlands

Based is a modern industrial city situated on the midlands. It is compact, with no boundary more than four miles from the centre and is approximately a 30-minute drive to Birmingham (15 miles), 1 hour 20 minutes to Manchester (60 miles). The city is an urban, multi-ethnic city with a population of around 250,000. The wider hospital catchment area has a population of in excess of 350,000. With more than 600 shops, bars, café and restaurants, the city is not only a great place to work but also somewhere to relax and enjoy. The city centre is just a 10-minute bus ride from the Hospital. 

The nearby countryside of Staffordshire and Shropshire is delightful. To the north is Cannock Chase and to the west the Shropshire borders with attractions of Bridgnorth, the Clee Hills, the Long Mynd, Wenlock Edge, and the Severn Valley. South of Wolverhampton, the City of Worcester is easily accessible, and to the west north-Wales can be reached in just over an hour. The area has a large network of canals, the majority renovated, offering adjacent housing and popular for narrow boat holidays.

Am I eligible for this role?

To be eligible for this vacancy you will need the following: 

EEA candidates: 

  • Recognised European Medical Degree
  • Specialist Qualification in Histopathology
  • IELTS or OET 

Non-EEA candidates: 

  • FRCPath
  • IELTS or OET 

UK-based candidates: 

  • Within six months of CCT or CCT Holder

This is a great opportunity for any experienced histopathologist interested in specialisation, and with interest in digital pathology. 

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