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To Keep the Cases Moving

More investment into pathology and laboratory services is needed in the UK to clear a backlog of cases, including ones that could delay cancer diagnoses, Michael Osborn, president of the UK Royal College of Pathologists, tells the Financial Times.

Osborn further tells it that years of underfunding has left pathology service ill-equipped to deal with the increase in caseload brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as a lack of investment in, for instance, digital pathology tools has limited the ability of pathologists to read tissue samples remotely.

But Osborn in particular tells FT that cellular pathology, which diagnoses cancers and analyzes tumor samples' genetic makeup to inform treatment decisions, is also experiencing a backlog that is also in part exacerbated by outdated computer systems. "A result is pretty pointless if it doesn't end up in the patient's notes," Osborn says at FT.

The Department of Health and Social Care tells it that "[c]ancer diagnosis and treatment remains a top priority, and most cancer services are operating at or above pre-pandemic levels" and notes that there has been a record government investment to clear the backlog.