Registrar Training in Pathology at Medlab Central 

Medlab Central (MLC) is an IANZ accredited laboratory that services much of the lower half of North Island. Routine work from this catchment is augmented by work from the Regional Cancer Treatment Service and Breast Screen Aotearoa. This results in a surgical workload of approximately 30,000 patients, gynaecological cytology from 30,000 patients, non-gynaecological cytology from 10,000 patients and autopsies on 350 people, including Coronial, paediatric, hospital autopsies, and suspicious deaths/homicides. The spectrum of work is wide, encompassing specimens from patients in both the Community and Hospital sectors.

The current pathologist workforce comprises 3.4 Histopathologists, 1 Forensic pathologist, 1 Microbiologist, 4 Haematologists and a General pathologist with interest in Chemistry, assisted by 4 Histology Trainees and, on occasion, one Haematology Trainee. Medlab Central has three Trainee positions at the Palmerston North laboratory funded by the Clinical Training Agency and funds an additional position from its own coffers. Training in Histopathology is recognised by the RCPA for a period of 4 years only. This is in line with the Colleges policy on single laboratory accreditation and also a reflection of the lack of exposure to surgical specimens from hearts, lungs and brains.

MLC is one of the Sonic Healthcare Ltd group of laboratories and we maintain a close working relationship with our sister laboratories. However, MLC is an independent business unit and managed by the MLC pathologists.

The working environment for the histopathologists and trainees at MLC is unique. We have purposely maintained a single workspace within which are individual workstations and the departmental library, centred around the multiheaded teaching microscope. The work comes into the office to a single point from which it is distributed, mostly on a first come first served basis. Particular cases may be selected at cut-up. This close working environment means that everyone is aware of the work as it comes through and facilitates rapid opinions. It helps greatly to standardise terminology and approach to cut-up. Trainees are exposed to the politics and management of a pathology laboratory. All aspects of a trainee performance are evident to all. Interesting cases are easily handed around. There is an open door policy leading to a close and frequent clinical liaison.

Clinico-pathological meetings are held in three venues and slide projection facilities are available in two. MLC staff have full access and privileges at the Medical Library including free inter-loans.

MLC has a close relationship with the Wellington Hospital Laboratory. Trainees from both centres maintain close contact and meet periodically. Slide sets are available at both centres. Wellington Hospital has agreed to accept our trainees one at a time, for a 12 month rotation, post part I.

                                   Histo Cells 3