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Consultant leaders and delivery of high quality pathology services
  1. David Joe Unsworth,
  2. Robert J Lock
  1. Department of Immunology and Immunogenetics, Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Joe Unsworth, Department of Immunology & Immunogenetics, Southmead Hospital, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK; joe.unsworth{at}

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Misbah et al1 correctly highlight the primary importance of pathology testing in the diagnosis and monitoring of disease. Tests range from widely requested electrolytes to cutting edge genetic tests. Few observers will disagree with the assertion that high quality hospital pathology services need expert supervision and leadership. The recent Kings Mill scandal (breast cancer patients missing out on optimum treatment because sub-optimal assays were used to determine tumour cell related oestrogen receptor status)2 is a chilling reminder of what can happen when quality in pathology services is neglected. Recent global financial troubles are triggering cost savings in pathology and the expectation of delivering more with less money. In some areas, better organisation and appropriate use of automation may help, but we must ensure that quality does not suffer. Cutting highly paid laboratory consultant pathologists (physician or otherwise) will be a consideration, especially if hard evidence of their value is lacking.

Misbah et al1 …

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  • Contributors JU (laboratory physician) and RJL (PhD laboratory scientist) discussed and co-wrote this editorial.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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