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Pathology is the vast medical specialty bridging medicine & science. Pathology doctors are in demand in the UK. 

It is currently an area of national shortage in the NHS with excellent opportunities for senior pathologists offering career progression, competitive salaries, access to specialty training, CESR and CCT

Requirements for an overseas candidate to work in pathology in the UK?

Requirements may differ slightly depending on what specialty you are actually applying for.

  • IELTS or OET & GMC registration would be needed for all specialties within pathology.
  • FRCPath is desirable for histopathology. However, there are opportunities available for those with PLAB and good postgraduate experience in Pathology.
  • MRCP and FRCPath are desirable qualifications for haemotology and microbiology & virology.
  • EEA applicants will only require GMC registration and IELTS or OET 

IMG Library Find out more about IELTS or OET, GMC Registration, FRCPath for haematology, histopathology and medical microbiology. Read here to understand a Pathologist's Route to the UK.

What should I know about pathology in the UK? 

Whilst the Royal College of Pathologists recognises up to 17 areas of further specialization, pathology in the NHS can be broken down into the following main specialties: 

  • Chemical pathology (increasingly known as clinical biochemistry)
  • Histopathology 
  • Haematology
  • Medical microbiology and virology

Chemical pathology and histopathology can apply for run-through training posts on completion of the foundation programme.

Haemotology specialty training is uncoupled and you can enter via core medical training (CMT), acute common care stem (ACCS) or via level one paediatrics training.

Medical microbiology and virology also has an uncoupled specialty training and you can enter via core medical training or ACCS. With medical microbiology and virology there is an opportunity to dual train in infectious disease.

What can you expect to do as part of a typical working week in the NHS as a Pathology doctor?

Roles in pathology differ from typical hospital roles in that they are mostly non-patient facing and job plans can be demanding yet flexible, as a consultant you can take work home with you.

You can expect to work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside a wide range of specialties, including oncology, radiology and other planned care medical specialties. 
Clinics, on-calls and other planned activities (such as GP liaisons or post-mortems) are very much specific to the area of pathology chosen. 

Most of your work will be laboratory based and doctors must be comfortable with minimized patient contact when compared to other medical specialties.

Did you know? According to Health Trust Europe, seventy percent of all diagnoses in hospitals are supported by a pathologist, and pathology services are essential to the delivery of many of the NHS’s priorities and targets. Such is its importance, it was estimated that one billion tests were run in pathology labs in 2018 alone, at a cost of £2.2 billion.


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