In the UK, clinical haematology is an intensive, exciting and rewarding speciality that encompasses both clinical and laboratory practice.
As a result of this dual role, haematologists take an active part in every stage of patient management, from initial clinic visit to laboratory assessment/diagnosis, and finally to treatment. Clinical care is delivered in both in-patient and out-patient environments and the haematologist frequently contributes to diagnosis and management in other specialties and in the intensive care setting. This holistic approach to clinical care is a highlight of the specialty.
Haematology is developing rapidly with regards therapeutic advances and lends itself to research. Within haematology there is the opportunity to further develop special interests in a wide variety of clinical and laboratory areas e.g. haemogloginopathies, haemostasis and thrombosis, transfusion medicine, malignant haematology, transplantation. The specialty may suit a wide variety of individuals including those who wish to combine a clinical and academic career. The haematology consultant workforce is currently expanding.
Entry into haematology specialist training occurs after completion of core training competencies (CMT, ACCS) and requires success in the MRCP part 1 examination.
The duration of specialist training is around five years. Satisfactory completion of training requires the trainee to acquire both the competencies set out in the generic curriculum applicable to all physicianly specialities, and those of the haematology curriculum. The completion of training also requires that the trainee obtains, by examination, both full MRCP and FRCPath. As specialists in haematology are involved in direct patient care and in management of haematology pathology laboratories, specialist training covers both of these components, including training in transfusion medicine. Specialist training starts with an introduction to laboratory practice and subsequently continues through a variety of posts which will:
include core and special interest haematology, incorporating haematological oncology, transplantation, paediatric haematology, haemostasis and thrombosis and blood transfusion practice
allow the trainee exposure to the broad range of diseases of the blood and bone marrow, both primary and secondary to other systemic disease
permit haematology training in a range of different settings including an academic environment, a District General Hospital, and Paediatric Haematology and Blood Transfusion Units
Specialist training may be extended to accommodate less than full time training. One year of specialist training may be approved for research, which is relevant to the specialty and in an area approved by the Chair or Secretary of the Specialty Advisory Committee. Approval will take account of the generic training value of the research and any clinical experience gained during the period of research. On award of CCT a haematologist will be able to work as a consultant specialist within the National Health Service and have the competencies required to do so, as well as developing further special interest expertise if desired.