Chemical Pathology

Chemical Pathology involves detecting changes in a wide range of substances in blood and body fluids (electrolytes, enzymes and proteins) in association with many diseases. It also involves detecting and measuring tumour (cancer) markers, hormones, poisons and both therapeutic and illicit drugs.

The largest part of a Chemical Pathologist’s day is typically spent in clinical liaison: advising other doctors about the appropriate tests for the investigation of a particular clinical problem, the interpretation of results and follow-up, and the effect of interferences e.g. by therapeutic drugs on test results.

Evaluation of new technologies and the development of new tests is an ongoing process in Chemical Pathology. This applies particularly to areas that are now opening up, such as the use of molecular biology techniques in diagnostic tests. Specialist areas of interest include such topics as inherited metabolic diseases, trace metals and environmental monitoring, drugs of abuse, and nutrition.

Training Pathway

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Training Level Medical School Intern Year Basic Specialty Training in Medicine* Higher Specialist Training in Chemical Pathology
Duration 4-6 years 1 year 2 years 5 years
Entry Process Graduate or direct entry Entry through the HSE Intern Match Entry based on competitive interview Entry based on competitive interview
Mandatory Examinations As per curriculum N/A MRCPI FRCPATH
Application Date CAO process opens in November Application process opens in October Application process opens in December Application process open in November
Programme Operated by: Undergraduate Universities Intern Networks RCPI RCPI

* An alternative pathway is  spending a minimum of one year in approved Chemical Pathology SHO/Registrar posts in which the  first  year  of  the  Core  Training  Programme  in  Chemical Pathology is completed.

The Higher Specialist Training Programme in Chemical Pathology is administered by the Faculty of Pathology, RCPI.

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