To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department
(1) whether she intends to increase resources available for the training of pathologists in the South West;
(2) what steps she is taking to improve the provision of pathology services in the South West.
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Mrs May, is responsible specifically for forensic pathology services, and the Home Office maintains the Home Office register of forensic pathologists on my behalf.
Home Office registered forensic pathologists are independent of the police, coroners and the Home Office; and group practices are currently structured so that pathologists working within them may be self-employed or employed by a university hospital or a hospital trust.
The Home Office register of forensic pathologists is a list of forensic pathologists who meet the criteria for registration as detailed in ‘The Process and Criteria for Recommendation for Admission to the Home Secretary's Register’ which is the responsibility of the Home Office Pathology Delivery Board's Registration and Training Committee, and sets out what is required of all candidates who apply to join the register.
There are currently 37 forensic pathologists on the register, working in six group practice areas around England and Wales, who provide a service to police and coroners in their geographical areas of operation, to assist in the investigation of violent and suspicious death cases.
The West and South West forensic pathology group practice currently consists of five self employed forensic pathologist consultants.
The Home Office currently funds the initial training of prospective members of the Home Office register.
Both the initial and ongoing training for members of the register is administered and overseen by the Royal College of Pathologists; and members of the register are also required to attend regular Continuing Professional Development events as part of their criteria for continuing registration.