Chemical Pathology involves detecting changes in a wide range of substances in blood and body fluids (electrolytes, enzymes and proteins) in association with many diseases. It also involves detecting and measuring tumour (cancer) markers, hormones, poisons and both therapeutic and illicit drugs.
The largest part of a chemical pathologist's day is typically spent in clinical liaison: advising other doctors about the appropriate tests for the investigation of a particular clinical problem, the interpretation of results and follow-up, and the effect of interferences e.g. by therapeutic drugs on test results.
Evaluation of new technologies and the development of new tests is an ongoing process in chemical pathology. This applies particularly to areas that are now opening up, such as the use of molecular biology techniques in diagnostic tests. Specialist areas of interest include such topics as inherited metabolic diseases, trace metals and environmental monitoring, drugs of abuse, and nutrition.
Training in chemical pathology is completed in two stages:
- Basic Specialist Training in General Internal Medicine (or an equivalent programme) – Two years
- Higher Specialist Training in Chemical Pathology – Five years
Applicants for Higher Specialist Training (HST) in Chemical Pathology must either:
a) have spent a minimum of one year in approved Chemical Pathology SHO/Registrar posts in which they have completed the first year of the Core Training Programme in Chemical Pathology. Furthermore, it is recommended that all candidates for HST in the Specialty should have some post registration training in general medicine including experience in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolic diseases.
b) have completed a minimum of two years Basic Specialist Training (BST) in General Internal Medicine in approved posts and obtained the MRCPI or (UK*), or MRCPCH. For further information please review the BST curriculum. Those who do not hold an MRCPI or (UK*) must provide evidence of equivalent qualification.
Download Chemical Pathology HST curriculum 2022/2023 (PDF, 807KB)
Download Chemical Pathology HST curriculum 2023/2024 (PDF, 1,044KB)
(Use this curriculum if you are in Year 1 of HST in 2023/2024)
Access HST in Chemical Pathology mandatory courses