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Audit of general surgical pathology experience of histopathology trainees.
  1. G J Tildsley,
  2. S A Dilly
  1. Department of Histopathology, St. George's Hospital, London.


    Surgical histopathology is learnt principally by the practical experience of reporting routine cases. This study performed a quantitative audit of the types of specimens reported by trainees at a teaching hospital and a district general hospital. At the teaching hospital all cases are seen by trainees and it was predicted that the distribution of specimens among trainees would be entirely random. Significant variations were found in the number of skin, breast, cervix, prostate, and endometrial cases reported by each trainee. In some cases this related to a trainee having a special interest (skin and breast pathology) or areas requiring special techniques (breast pathology). At the district general hospital the workload was much higher so that juniors did not see all cases and junior trainees were not seeing bronchial, liver, or lymph node biopsy specimens. This type of audit shows that in teaching hospitals specialisation by some trainees (as encouraged by the new MRCPath exam) may be to the detriment of others and that in district general hospitals pressure of work may actually reduce a trainee's exposure to difficult cases. Without systematic audit this would not be recognised and remedied.

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