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Speciality: Chemical Pathology (with Metabolic Medicine)

Programme Description
GMC Reference: WOS/452

GMC Reference: WOS/452


1 a. What specialty learning opportunities does this program provide e.g. sub-specialty exposure, especially those which are not available elsewhere?


Chemical Pathology is a national training programme. As such, all trainees have exposure to all components of the programme regardless of which centre they are based in. For trainees in some centres, this will involve rotation to other centres (e.g. Glasgow for experience in inherited metabolic disorders or Aberdeen for experience in obesity). The aim is to ensure comprehensive exposure across laboratory aspects. Opportunities for attachments at other sites are possible to supplement and aid development of expertise. All four centres have close links with their respective medical school encouraging research and offering teaching opportunities.

There is a weekly Scotland-wide tutorial programme which is delivered on Microsoft Teams.


b. How do trainees access these opportunities?


West Region:


Trainees are appointed to either the Glasgow Royal Infirmary or Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Department of Clinical Biochemistry of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (GG&C) as their base hospital.  Both Departments have Medical and Scientific Consultant grade staff, are well equipped and provide extensive analytical and clinical laboratory services to NHS GG&C and other Health Boards in Scotland. All trainees will rotate through both departments to ensure all aspects of the Specialty using centres receiving samples from across Scotland (GRI – Trace element/vitamins and Endocrinology and QEUH – Metabolic Biochemistry and Toxicology) for training. Clinics associated with GRI/North can be at Gartnavel General Hospital and Stobhill Hospital; clinics associated with QEUH/South can be at Victoria ACH.


All the consultants involved in training in Chemical Pathology are involved in direct patient care and thus the programme is able to provide clinical training in Adult and Paediatric Inherited Metabolic Disorders, Diabetes Mellitus, Obesity, Calcium and Metabolic Bone Disease, Lipid Disorders and Cardiovascular Risk Prevention and Nutritional Support.


Trainees rotate to Crosshouse Hospital for 6 months within commuting distance from Glasgow.


North Region:


Trainees are appointed to NHS Grampian and are based in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. All of the medical consultants are involved in direct patient care: particular areas of activity include the Nutrition Team (provision of parenteral nutrition to inpatients and home parenteral nutrition on an outpatient basis); Lipid/Cardiovascular Risk Clinic; Severe and Complex Obesity Service (including access to bariatric surgery) and Diabetes. The department has good links with the Metabolic Bone Clinic and clinics for children and adults with Inherited Metabolic Disorders, and attachments to these clinics will be arranged. Clinical and laboratory experience in Inherited Metabolic Disorders will be expanded by rotation to Glasgow.


East Region:


Trainees are appointed to NHS Tayside and are based in the Department of Biochemical Medicine at Ninewells Hospital. Both medical consultants are involved in direct patient care in the form of Cardiovascular Risk, Obesity and Diabetes clinics. There are strong links with the endocrine team including the Metabolic Bone Clinic. The Obesity Clinic co-ordinates with surgical and dietetic arms of specialist weight management in the Obesity multi-disciplinary team (MDT); a local programme of bariatric surgery has been supported by NHS Tayside since 2010. Trainees will gain exposure to all aspects of Biochemical Medicine, supplemented as necessary by rotation to specialist units in inborn errors of metabolism. Opportunities also exist for rotation through the Scottish Bowel Cancer Screening Unit which is part of the department.


South East Region:


Trainees are appointed to NHS Lothian and are initially based at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal Infirmary. Both medical consultants are involved in direct patient care, in the Lipid and Diabetes Clinics. Links are also established with the Hypertension Clinic and the obesity service, which provides bariatric surgery for this region. Trainees will rotate to the Western General Hospital where the Department provides a range of laboratory activities complementary to those at the Royal Infirmary. Clinical links are established here with the metabolic unit and the metabolic bone clinic. Paediatric laboratory training is provided at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and there are outpatient clinical services for both children and adults with inherited metabolic disorders.

Research, audit, teaching and management opportunities

West Region:

There are good opportunities for research. Within the past eight years four trainees have been encouraged to and have taken the opportunities available locally to do PhDs or MDs.

ST trainees are expected to partake in undergraduate teaching to medical students attending Glasgow University Medical School.

There are ample opportunities to undertake audit which is actively encouraged.

North Region:

The department has a high level of research activity and enjoys good links with the Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen. Trainees will carry out a research project as part of FRCPath, and interested trainees may have opportunities to carry out further research towards a PhD or MD. The department actively contributes to teaching for each year of the undergraduate medical curriculum of the University of Aberdeen and trainees are encouraged to be involved in this. There are many opportunities for audit activity.

East Region:

The department has a portfolio of research interests in biological variation, reflex/reflective testing and the application of record-linkage methodology to laboratory medicine, the latter reflecting a well-established productive collaboration with the Medicines Monitoring Unit in Tayside. Excellent opportunities exist locally for trainees to compete for Wellcome Trust and MRC funded PhD programmes.

South East Region:

The department is active in research and maintains close and productive links with a number of clinical departments. Trainees will carry out a project as part of their FRCPath and will be encouraged, if appropriate, to pursue research towards a PhD or MD. Department members are active in teaching at various levels of the undergraduate medical curriculum. There are many opportunities for audit arising from both the laboratory and clinical activities of the department.

Where is the training delivered?
Training is delivered across:

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, Perth Royal Infirmary, Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, 50 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh, EH16 4SF, The Royal Hospital for Children Glasgow, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow , Stobhill Hospital, Glasgow, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Western Infirmary, Glasgow, University Hospital Wishaw, Dr Grays Hospital, Elgin

This programme involves placements in some or all of these Health Boards and hospitals:

West Region:

Glasgow Royal Infirmary, QEUH Glasgow (including Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow), Crosshouse Hospital.

North Region:

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with rotation to Glasgow for additional specialist experience in inherited metabolic disorders.

East Region:

Ninewells Hospital, Perth Royal Infirmary, King’s Cross Hospital. Rotation to Glasgow for addition training in inherited metabolic disorders

South East Region:

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Royal Hospital for Sick Children, St John’s Hospital (Livingston) with rotation to Aberdeen for specialist experience in nutrition.

Contacts and Useful Links
Programme Type Deanery based or National: National
Administration office North of Scotland
Lead Dean / Director Professor Alan Denison
Responsible Associate Postgraduate Dean or Assistant Director (GP) Dr Clair Evans
Specialty or Sub-specialty Specialty or Sub-specialty: Specialty
Date of GMC recent approval August 2010
Associated Royal College - Faculty
Royal College of Pathologists (web site)
Curriculum and Associated Assessment System
Programme Administrator: Named Programme Administrator: Dianne Morrison
Address: NHS Education for Scotland Forest Grove House Foresterhill Road Aberdeen AB25 2ZP
Tel: 01224 805131
Programme Director Programme Director Name: Dr Kevin Deans
Address: Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD
Tel: 01224 559982
Quality of Training Quality Management

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