RE: Med Tech's as Histologists, the UK perspective

From:Nick Bullough

I think we are quite lucky in the UK in some ways.

Everyone is equal whether they be histologist, haematologist, biochemist or
microbiologist (and a few other specialties). We are all Biomedical
Scientists, same grading system, same pay scale (poor to abysmal, if you
think you're badly paid in the US, come over here!), all answerable to the
same body (what used to be the Council for Professions Supplementary to
Medicine (CPSM) and is now becoming the Health Professions Council (HPC)),
nearly all employed by the National Health Service and now we all have
almost the same training.

The training is a three year honours degree in Biomedical Science (approved
by the Institute of Biomedical Science IBMS which covers all
the disciplines and gives a thorough scientific grounding (many graduates go
to work in the pharmaceutical industry of research) to even get into the
profession, then a year as a trainee in a specific discipline, so we get
none of the differential between disciplines (other than on-call payments
which just don't happen in histology).

There are moves to integrate biochemistry and haematology, because (sweeping
generalisation coming up!) if you can run one analyser you can run any
analyser. But people realise that microbiology and histology are too
specialist to have just anyone coming in and working there without having
undergone a proper training program.

As a histologist and immunohistochemist I have worked in an immunology
department without any problem, the theory is the same, just applied a
different way, I think coming the other way would be far harder.

When working in IT installing pathology systems in the UK and South Africa,
Biochemistry and Haematology, I could pick up as I went along, but the
Biochemists and Haematologists? they had serious problems getting their
heads around histology/cytology.

So I would say we are a breed apart, but that's no reason to pay us less,
after all, all the Biochemists and Haematologists do is 'push the buttons'
;-> (I now expect to get attacked by any number of the afore-mentioned

Just my view and perhaps a different perspective.


Nick Bullough BSc(Hons) AIBMS

-----Original Message-----
From: Barry Rittman []
Sent: 09 July 2002 17:03
To: histology
Subject: Re: Med Tech's as Histologists????

I think that the broader the experiences that you have in the health
the better.
I personally prefer the original european system where individuals train as
with a portion of this training in histopathological technic. If they prefer
they can later specialize in histopathology. This seems to be a sensitive
in the States where more MLTs are being asked to act as supervisors of
histopathology laboratories. I believe that in order to effectively
supervise a
histopathology laboratory you have to have trained as a histotech and be
able to
do the job of any of the people that you are supervising.
The problem that we see is often a result of differential training of
histotechs. While I agree that on the job training is valuable, it often
in tunnel vision with large gaps in basic knowledge.
It is also true that most people can be taught how to use a microtome.
is do you want someone who cuts, mounts and stains sections in a robotic
In my experience it takes about 6 months before an individual can cut good
sections and around a year for hard tissues. Most residents are amazed at
easy sections are to cut when we set up a microtome and an easy block of
for them, however its a different matter when they have to start from
and any problems arise. Can be a very humbling experience.
One last point is that with the current shortage of histotechs and no bright
light on the horizon for a big  increase in numbers available, it is time
employers to make the jobs much more attractive - better salaries, financial
support for attending meetings to improve knowledge and a scheduled training

This message and any files transmitted with it are intended for the addressee only and
may contain information that is confidential or privileged. Unauthorised use is strictly
prohibited and may be unlawful.  If you are not the addressee, you should not read, copy,
disclose or otherwise use this message, except for the purpose of delivery to the
addressee. If you received it in error please notify us immediately and then destroy it.

Further, Pharmagene makes every effort to keep its network free from viruses including the
scanning of incoming and outgoing mail. However, you do need to check this e-mail and any
attachments to it for viruses as Pharmagene can take no responsibility for any computer
virus that might be transferred by way of this e-mail.

Pharmagene plc
2 Orchard Road,
SG8 5HD,

Registered in England & Wales under company number 03355618.


<< Previous Message | Next Message >>