Specialist Training in Histopathology in Severn Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) is based on the Core Training Programme of the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and is directed by the Severn Histopathology Specialist Training Committee that includes the Regional Programme Director (currently Dr Muhammed Sohail who is also Chairman of this committee), Dr Kim Jacobson, Head of the Postgraduate School of Pathology, the Postgraduate Dean (or his representative), , and the Speciality Tutors from each training hospital. In keeping with the aims of the Core Training Programme of the Royal College of Pathologists, specialist training in Histopathology in Severn PGME includes:

(a)     Clinical experience of all aspects of diagnostic histopathology and cytopathology in the laboratory and post mortem room.

(b)     A structured training course based on monthly day courses (10 days per annum) in organ-specific diagnostic histopathology, cytopathology, autopsy pathology and generic subjects including administration, medical education, audit, research and medical computing. The course is co-ordinated by the Regional Director of Histopathology Training. It consists of two sessions, each comprising a lecture/seminar on a chosen subject followed by a slide seminar (if appropriate) and/or interactive workshops. The sessions take place in Bristol and Exeter. The 10 days per year of training course count towards the 30 days per annum study leave allowance.

(c)     Placements in departments with specialist expertise commensurate with the aims of the Core Training Programme of the Royal College of Pathologists. These include placements in neuropathology (Southmead Hospital), paediatric and perinatal pathology (Bristol Royal Infirmary, Southmead Hospital), head and neck pathology (Bristol Royal Infirmary) and bone and soft tissue pathology (Southmead Hospital).

(d)     Programmes of invited lectures and seminars, in Departments of Histopathology and in Postgraduate Medical Centres.

(e)     Opportunities for developing a special interest through independent study and research and through specialist "elective" attachments.

(f)      Participation in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in pathology in all training centres.

(g)     Encouragement to attend and contribute to departmental audit and clinical governance meetings.

(h)     Access to protected funding to attend local, regional and national courses.

(i)      Assessment in the form of 6 monthly appraisals by the local Educational Supervisor and yearly assessments as part of the system directed by the Histopathology Regional Training Director.            

In addition, trainees will receive training in health and safety awareness, information technology skills and medical informatics and in technical aspects of laboratory practice, including the dissection of specimens, section cutting and staining, histochemistry (including immunohistochemistry), and molecular diagnostics. Generic training is also organised by Severn PGME. The latter includes but is not limited to training in management, medical education, clinical effectiveness and ethical issues.

Service related Training in Clinical Histopathology

The major element of the training programme is comprehensive practical experience of clinical surgical pathology, cytopathology and autopsy pathology with consultant supervision. Trainees will be attached to one of the training hospitals and during these attachments they will contribute to the service work of the departments, to a level commensurate with their level of experience and proficiency. Out of hours working may be required for the provision of the service. Each individual training hospital provides varying educational qualities: these are outlined for each individual hospital.

Structured Training, Self Directed Learning and Research

In all training departments, there are ample opportunities to attend clinico-pathological conferences, postgraduate department lectures and seminars and university lectures on topics related to the scientific basis of pathology. Teaching of medical students, postgraduates (from histopathology and other specialities) and non-medical staff is positively encouraged in all training departments. It is expected that StRs will gain experience in lecturing to medical students (and others) during their time at Southmead Hospital.

Trainees will also be encouraged to develop critical skills and to partake in research projects throughout their StR posts. Time for research and audit will be made available in all training departments. For StRs especially motivated toward research, provision will be made for them to have more time available for research where at all possible. Nevertheless it is expected that every StR will undertake some research with a view to publication or presentation at local, regional, national or international scientific meetings.

Progress Monitoring and Assessment

Trainees' progress will be monitored through the use of log books, records of work-place based assessments, six monthly review meetings with the local Educational Supervisor and formal Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) by the ARCP panel. This panel consists of at least three members including the Head of the Postgraduate School of Pathology, Regional Director of Training/Programme Director, an External Consultant from the same specialty but from outside the training programme and the Postgraduate Dean or his representative.