NHS pathology staff shortfall reaches crisis point

The
shortage of pathologists in the NHS has begun to have a serious affect on the
delivery of healthcare services, with more than 1,000 vacancies for qualified
staff remaining unfilled.

Healthcare
professionals union Amicus has warned the Government and NHS employers that
urgent action is needed to halt the deepening crisis in UK pathology
laboratories.

The
union said salary levels in NHS pathology do not reflect the skills,
professional

knowledge
and the role that the scientific staff undertake – the starting salary is
currently just over £11,000.

NHS
management is having to pay premium rates for agency staff to fill the gaps.

"The
effect of this is to push more and more NHS staff into the agencies in a bid to
earn a decent salary deepening the crisis facing the NHS," said Amicus
general secretary Roger Lyons.

He
said the shortfall in scientists puts patients at risk of delayed treatment due
to delays in diagnosing illnesses.

By Quentin Reade

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