Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Letter to the editor
Chemical pathology reborn by the Bologna Process, syllabus mapping and accreditation
  1. William Patrick Tormey1,2
  1. 1 Department of Chemical Pathology, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor William Patrick Tormey, Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK; billtormey{at}

Statistics from

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.

Goodbye chemical pathology

Provision 2 of the Charter of the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) included the following: ‘In this our Charter the word ‘pathologist’ means a person professionally engaged in one or more of the disciplines of laboratory medicine from time to time recognised as being a discipline of pathology, and which may include morbid anatomy and histopathology (including forensic pathology), medical microbiology (including parasitology), chemical pathology (including toxicology), haematology (including blood transfusion), genetics, immunology, virology and disciplines subsidiary to or derived from any of these. The word “pathology”, shall be construed accordingly.’ This text incorporates Privy Council amendments to July 2000.

At the annual general meeting of the RCPath in 2013, the College establishment proposed the following as a replacement amendment to Provision 2 of the Charter following the words which may include ‘cellular pathology (including forensic pathology), medical microbiology, clinical biochemistry, haematology (including blood transfusion), toxicology, genetics, immunology, virology, veterinary pathology, clinical embryology, histocompatibility and immunogenetics, perinatal and paediatric pathology and disciplines derived from any of these. The word “pathology” shall be construed accordingly.’

Disquiet among chemical pathologists as a consequence of their existential obliteration in the halls of the RCPath is not surprising. Nomenclatures do have meaning, and clinical biochemists are not chemical pathologists. No amount of sophistry can change that. Registration, continuing professional development and practice differences between chemical pathologists and biochemists have been outlined recently.1

Education developments at third level in Europe aim to facilitate the recognition of degree programmes across EU member states through the Bologna Process agreed in 1999.2 It is impossible to ignore the ramifications of this agreement on policy in which 46 countries now participate. It now should feature as an indispensable component of any third level education programme which is being developed.

Qualification frameworks are dependent on specified …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests None.

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

Linked Articles