Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Current experience and attitudes to biomedical scientist cut-up: results of an online survey of UK consultant histopathologists
  1. E J V Simmons,
  2. D S A Sanders,
  3. R A Carr
  1. Cellular Pathology Laboratory, Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Service, Coventry, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr E J V Simmons, Histopathology SpR, Department of Pathology, 4th Floor, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, Coventry CV2 2DX, UK; emma.simmons{at}


Aims To assess the current utilisation of biomedical scientist (BMS) surgical specimen cut-up in the UK and attitudes of consultant histopathologists to the practice.

Methods Email invitations were sent to all UK consultant histopathologists to participate in an online survey (SurveyMonkey) assessing attitudes to and utilisation of BMS surgical specimen cut-up.

Results 463 individual replies were received (35% response rate) from 1320 invitations to participate, covering 181 UK histopathology departments. A majority of the respondents were either fully in favour of BMS cut-up (52.7%), or in favour but with some reservation (46.2%). Only five respondents (1.1%) were completely opposed to BMS cut-up. 267 (57.7%) respondents reported that their BMS staff loaded biopsies only. 148 (32%) reported BMS cut-up of more complex benign specimens, and 83 (17.9%) reported BMS handling of orientated skin specimens. Only 39 (8.4%) reported that BMS staff in their departments currently cut-up larger cancer resections.

Conclusions This survey is representative of current BMS cut-up practice in the UK. The majority of UK consultant histopathologists replying to this survey support BMS cut-up to some degree, but utilisation of BMS cut-up is rather limited and patchy at present. Cost, staffing constraints, perceived quality issues and individual consultant preferences are cited as reasons for limited uptake currently. Recognised benefits of promoting BMS cut-up include better use of consultant time, enhanced team working, BMS job satisfaction and career progression, and better adherence to standard operating procedures.

  • BMS
  • BMS cut-up
  • histopathology
  • survey

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.