Pathology

Bridging the gap between science and medicine to diagnose, treat and prevent disease.

The Royal Cornwall Pathology service consists of approximately 190 staff and provides a 24 hour, 7 day service to Cornwall, Devon and the Isles of Scilly for both primary and secondary care.
This covers three main hospitals (Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance and St Michael’s Hospital in Hayle), nine community hospitals, approximately 80 general practice surgeries and a number of mental health and learning disabilities centres.

The Pathology budget is £16.6 million and includes approximately £3.8m for blood and blood product and the service itself. We process approximately 1.4 million requests a year and report 3.9 million requestable test groups. The staff across pathology provides 70% of diagnoses based on the pathology results provided by laboratory services.

Our pathology services are fully accredited, regulatory compliant and provide advice, results and clinical input across all the main Pathology specialties from a base at Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Our mission statement is:

To continue to provide and develop quality, cost-effective pathology services and staffing relevant to local clinical practice and within a changing technological, functional and organisational environment

The Pathology Departments

Key Pathology Contacts & Roles

Key Pathology Contacts

Pathology Specialty Director

Dr Simon Fleming (Consultant Chemical Pathologist)
01872 252541
simon.fleming2@nhs.net

Pathology Service Manager

Bruce Daniel
07909 927561
brucedaniel@nhs.net

Deputy Pathology Services Manager

Malcolm Owen
01872 254981
malcolm.owen@nhs.net

Pathology Services Optimisation Manager

Nigel Oakes
01872 253040
nigeloakes@nhs.net

Lead Biomedical Scientist for Diagnostic & Molecular Pathology and Clinical Microbiology

Peter Helliwell
01872 252550
peter.helliwell@nhs.net

Lead Biomedical Scientist for Haematology, Blood Transfusion and Clinical Chemistry

Stephen Bassey
01872 252508
stephen.bassey@nhs.net

Pathology Quality and Improvement Manager and Health & Safety Lead

Sarah Pointon
01872 252582
sarahpointon@nhs.net

Pathology Information Technology Manager

Don Hutchison
01872 252561
don.hutchison@nhs.net

Key Pathology Roles

The Pathology team is both highly specialised and incredibly varied. We have a mix of scientific, medical and support staff who all work together to process and analyse millions of samples each year. In each of our departments you’ll find:

Medical Laboratory Assistants / Medical Laboratory Support Workers
Our medical lab assistants and support workers keep our labs running smoothly. They receive and unpack all of our samples and make sure they end up in the right place. They also help prepare specimens for analysis as well as equipment maintenance, filing, audits, preparing chemicals for analysis and providing results.

Biomedical Scientists
Our Biomedical Scientists process samples using a range of specialised techniques so that they can make a diagnosis, identify causes of disease and monitor the effectiveness of treatments.

Each of our teams also have a number of specialist roles:

The Haematology, Blood Transfusion & Immunology Team

Transfusion Practitioners oversee blood transfusions. They make sure blood components are safe and used efficiently. They also advise other medical staff who care for patients receiving blood components, and make sure guidelines and protocols are followed.

Clinical Scientists carry out haematology tests including andrology and coagulation services. They hold clinical responsibility and are the main point of contact for GPs, other primary care practitioners and within the Royal Cornwall Hospitals.

Consultant Haematologists interpret test results and act as the bridge between the science of the laboratory and the medicine of the hospital. Hospital doctors and GPs can phone them for advice.

Specific contact information for the Haematology, Blood Transfusion & Immunology team.

The Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology Team

Cytoscreeners evaluate specimens on glass slides using microscopes to see whether the cells are normal or abnormal. Abnormal specimens are referred to a pathologist for final interpretation or medical diagnosis.

Consultant Biomedical Scientist in Cytology is the strategic and clinical lead in cervical cytology covering the south west.

Consultant Pathologists interpret the results from the Cytoscreeners and act as the bridge between the science of the laboratory and the medicine of the hospital. Hospital doctors and GPs can phone them for advice. They diagnose disease and carry out post mortems to investigate cause of death.

Specific contact information for the Diagnostic and Molecular Pathology team

The Mortuary and Bereavement service

Anatomical Technicians assist Pathologists during post mortem examinations. They also look after the day-to-day running of the mortuary service and and maintenance of the post mortem room. They conduct viewings in our specially designed quiet rooms, and release the deceased to undertakers in preparation for a funeral.

Bereavement Officers offer advice, practical help and support for bereaved relatives in the period following the death of a loved one.

Specific contact information for the Mortuary and Bereavement team

The Clinical Microbiology Team

Consultant Medical Microbiologists have an incredibly varied role. Microbiologists advise clinicians on the management of infection, do clinical ward rounds, provide advice for community care and review positive laboratory samples. They also work with the infection control team to prevent and control outbreaks of healthcare associated infections. This involves responding to changing microorganisms and emerging diseases, and advising hospital engineers about building new hospital areas. Consultants are also responsible for the clinical governance of the diagnostic laboratory and are involved in introducing new tests and techniques.

Specific contact information for the Clinical Microbiology team

The Clinical Chemistry Team

Clinical Biochemists interpret results, acting as the bridge between the science of the laboratory and the medicine of the hospital. Hospital doctors and GPs can phone them for advice.

Chemical Pathologists are similar to the Clinical Biochemists as they also provide interpretation of results; however, as medics, they have a larger clinical component to their role such as being involved in nutrition ward rounds and providing clinics such as Diabetes, Lipids & Metabolic Medicine.

Specific contact information for the Clinical Chemistry team

The Point of Care Testing (POCT) Team

The Associate Practitioner is available for problem solving, fixing of Point Of Care Testing (POCT) equipment and assisting in training.

Our senior Biomedical Scientist in Clinical Chemistry oversees the day-to-day running of POCT team and ensures Service Level Agreements and policies are disseminated throughout the trust.

Consultant Biochemist is the clinical lead for POCT.

Specific contact information for the Point of Care Testing team

Registrations and Memberships

Our scientific staff are all registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and either members of the Institute of Biomedical Scientists (IBMS) or the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath). Our medical staff are members of the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) or Royal College of Physicians (RCP). Everyone in the Pathology team undergoes Continual Professional Development to ensure their education and training remains up-to-date.

Careers in Pathology

Working in an NHS laboratory means you will play an important part in diagnosing disease and making sure that patients get the treatment they need as soon as possible.

If you’d like to visit our laboratory to find out more about a career in pathology, please contact Martyn Hicks in the Haematology Department on 01872 252502.

Find out more about a career in pathology:

Further sources of information about pathology

Pathology Services Newsletters

Lab Med News

A bimonthly newsletter sent via email to Primary Care. It contains the latest news from Pathology including changes to services, information and guidance on tests, and much more. Lab Med News is compiled by Anna Barton, Principal Clinical Biochemist (Department of Clinical Chemistry).

Pathology Quality & Pathology Health and Safety

These are quarterly newsletters sent via email to all pathology staff. They contain any relevant information regarding H&S issues or quality issues within the Pathology department. They are compiled by Sarah Pointon, Pathology Quality and Improvement Manager.