What’s happening in Pathology? Derriford at the forefront of Pathology advancements


The role of a Biomedical Scientist within Cellular Pathology is wide and varied.

We perform many techniques used by Pathologists in the diagnosis of cancer or, indeed, many other disease processes and very often actually diagnosing that the tissue is in fact normal; this of course can be a tremendous relief to a patient.

Having worked in Plymouth for over 30 years I have seen a huge amount of change and the development of new techniques and equipment.

But perhaps one of the most exciting developments I am currently involved in, is the introduction of digital pathology whole slide imaging.

Derriford will be one of the first laboratories in the country to implement this technique for reporting.

The traditional glass slides are scanned to make a digital image which can be viewed on a computer screen, rather than using a microscope.

Having a digital image is beneficial as we will be able to share images between laboratories for consultation.

Whilst the reporting will still be carried out by Pathologists, the Biomedical staff will be involved in the future by running algorithms that will allow the computer aided calculation of staining results, for example, prognostic indicators such as oestrogen receptors in breast cancer.

In recent years we have seen a change in working practice for some Biomedical Scientists with extended roles covering some areas traditionally undertaken by medical staff.

One area of change has been within specimen dissection and biomedical scientists are extending their role to dissect more complex specimens allowing the pathologists more time to report cases reducing turnaround times.

I am certain I will be seeing more advancements as time goes on.

Steve Blunden

Cellular and Anatomical Pathology Technical Service Lead


Steve is writing as part of the #WeCare2 campaign that will be running across our Trust communications. Look out for more from Pathology, and their AHP and HCS colleagues, on our social media pages, Trust screensavers, Daily Email, Vital Signs and much more.

2 thoughts on “What’s happening in Pathology? Derriford at the forefront of Pathology advancements

  1. Hi Steve
    Wonderful to see you are at the forefront of this development. You have always been a leader in the development of high quality Histopathology Science.
    You are a shining example of the importance of our profession to patient care.

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