Developing your career as a haematologist

Jacqui Wise
2020 The BMJ (British Medical Journal)  
Haematology is a flexible specialty that offers the opportunity to develop special interests in a variety of clinical and laboratory areas. It is also possible to combine a clinical and academic career. Consultant posts A certificate of completion of training is awarded by the General Medical Council once a trainee successfully completes specialist training, has passed the Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists examination, and is deemed competent by the specialist advisory committee. They
more » ... ory committee. They will then be placed on the specialist register and allowed to apply for consultant posts. The Royal College of Pathologists 2017 census showed there were 1035 consultant haematologists across the UK. The 2018 workforce survey identified 76 consultants working in paediatric haematology with a further eight vacant consultant posts in that area Haematologists are responsible for the management of acute and chronic haematological conditions in NHS hospitals; in addition, they provide clinical oversight for haematology laboratory services and a liaison service which supports all other areas of the hospital and community medical services. Haematology consultant posts range from general hospital posts which cover all areas of haematology to more specialist posts in larger centres Haematology offers the opportunity to further specialise in a number of areas including advanced diagnostics, bone marrow transplant, haemato-oncology, haemostasis and thrombosis, paediatric haematology, red cell and haemoglobinopathy disorders, and transfusion medicine. Before applying for a consultant post, many haematologists will take on a fellowship post either in the UK or abroad in order to broaden their experience and increase their employability. Fellowship posts and consultant posts are advertised on the BMJ Careers website ( and the NHS Jobs website ( Sub-specialties Sub-specialties within haematology include: haemato-oncology or haematological malignancy; haemostasis and thrombosis; paediatric haematology; red cell and haemoglobinopathy disorders; and transfusion medicine. Haemato-oncology or haematological malignancy This covers conditions such as acute and chronic leukaemias, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Haematologists will diagnose and type cancers to help develop the best treatment plan for the patient. There is the opportunity to use new therapies developed as a consequence of the latest scientific breakthroughs including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and genetically engineered antibodies and lymphocytes. Haemostasis and thrombosis This includes diagnosing and monitoring patients with congenital and acquired disorders of haemostasis and blood coagulation and management of antithrombotic therapies. Some hospitals have centres that focus on specific disorders such as haemophilia. Paediatric haematology This is an exciting and rewarding sub-specialty of haematology. Most specialist paediatric haematologists will have trained specifically in paediatric haematology. However, all haematologists, especially those working in district general hospitals and those with onsite neonatal units will be required to advise on, and sometimes directly manage, haematological problems in children. Therefore, all haematology trainees spend at least six months of training learning about childhood blood disorders. Adult haematology trainees who develop an interest in paediatric haematology during their paediatric attachment may have their option to complete training in paediatric haematology but may have to undertake a period of core paediatric training. Red cell and haemoglobinopathy disorders This includes the management of anaemias, sickle cell disease, and thalassemia. Haematologists would be involved in the initiation of transfusion programmes, immunosuppressant drugs, and sometimes stem cell transplantation. Transfusion medicine Most large centres will have a dedicated transfusion medicine haematologist. They would be responsible for performing routine blood grouping, antibody identification, red cell phenotyping, crossmatching, and other pre-transfusion tests. Haematologists are also involved in developing and implementing transfusion policy within a trust including blood conservation and transfusion safety. NHS Blood and Transplant also employs haematologists who are involved at a national level promoting appropriate blood use and being involved in blood product development. 1 For personal use only: See rights and reprints
doi:10.1136/bmj.m285 pmid:32066567 fatcat:44khsmxalzf2lnj7edffrz64r4