Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In the past 10 years there has been increasing concern about recruitment of junior doctors into pathology, particularly histopathology, in the UK. In this study, we report on career choices for pathology, derived from postal questionnaire surveys of all qualifiers from all UK medical schools in nine qualification years since 1974. 74% (24,623/33,417) and 73% (20,709/28,468) of doctors responded at 1 and 3 years after qualification. The percentage of doctors choosing pathology 1 year after qualification has fallen sharply in recent years: between 1974 and 1983 it was 4.5% (95% confidence interval 4.1-4.9%) and between 1993 and 2002 it was 2.3% (CI 2.0-2.5%). 57% of doctors who chose pathology 1 year after qualification were still working in pathology at year 10. Hours and conditions of work, the doctor's personal assessment of their aptitudes, and their experience of the subject as a student influenced long-term career choices for pathology. Recruitment of UK graduates into the pathology specialties must increase to meet demand in the new and expanding subspecialties. This depends on developing innovative ways of raising the profile of pathology to medical students and junior hospital doctors.

Original publication




Journal article


J Pathol

Publication Date





446 - 452


Adult, Attitude of Health Personnel, Career Choice, Education, Medical, Graduate, Female, Humans, Male, Medicine, Pathology, Physicians, Specialization, United Kingdom