Pathology Day Engages Community

By Ryan Mccann
Tuesday, 28 May, 2013

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) will celebrate the important work of pathologists during its inaugural Pathology Day today. 
The announcement of Pathology Day coincides with the release of new research findings which reveal a significant disconnect in the understanding of pathology and pathologists among the wider community.  The research showed that: nearly 50 per cent of all respondents think that ‘pathologists are not medically qualified doctors’; 40 per cent think that pathologists are only laboratory technicians; and nearly 70 per cent are not aware that pathologists are responsible for diagnosing diseases and advising on treatment types.
Professor Khong, President of the RCPA, says that the wider public’s misconceptions of pathology can lead to a lack of pressure in the media and a shortfall in government funding.
“We hope that Pathology Day helps to highlight the fundamental role of pathology in the lives of everyone in the community.  “There is no doubt that everyone has been exposed to a pathologist however our worry is that most people don’t know that.  “It’s reasonable to say that pathology is one of the most misunderstood areas of medicine.
“There is currently a critical shortage of pathologists in Australia and New Zealand.  Our trained pathologists are conducting higher volumes and a larger variety of tests than ever before and, as a result, the profession is under increasing pressure,” Mr Khong says.
“We realise that most people do not currently understand that pathologists are medically qualified doctors who undertake a minimum of 13 years of study.  People may not realise but pathologists are central to the diagnosis of 70 per cent of all diseases, including 100 per cnet of all cancer diagnoses.  They also advise the course of treatment for the patient.  We would like to help bridge the gap in understanding, so everyone is well informed on who is diagnosing and treating their illnesses and correctly situate pathology as a major priority in the health care system,” says Mr Khong.
The market research was conducted by online research company PureProfile using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents in Australia.


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