Views And Reviews

The future for histopathology: protectionism or prudence?

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 06 August 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:417
  1. T G Ashworth

    As a consultant histopathologist, I am concerned for the future of my specialty. Despite an increasing volume of work, our departmental budget has been steadily eroded over the years. We have modified many of our work practices and become more efficient but the drive for economies continues. From the beginning of 1994 our NHS trust hospital has to save another £4.4m. Some of this has already been borne by our department. Voluntary redundancies having not proved sufficient, early retirement and compulsory redundancies are now taking effect.

    Have we reached the end of the road in our battle with the budget? Yes, if protectionism holds sway; no, if prudence allows us to recognise that changes are necessary before more unacceptable measures are imposed on us. Throughout the developed world, health services are being subjected to similar pressures.

    Protectionism may be a dirty word to some, but it is what every group in society strives for to a greater or lesser extent. Ever since pathologists achieved recognition in their own right and promoted professional standards, we have been fostering this protectionism. Instead of looking at alternative strategies in the face of increasing output, we respond by demanding more resources. With market forces ruling the NHS, aspects of current …

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