Workforce, training and education
Yorkshire and Humber

Paediatric & Perinatal Pathology

The Specialty

The work of perinatal and paediatric pathologists has a huge effect on families, providing vital information during the most difficult periods of their lives, such as the loss of a baby or diagnosis of a child with cancer. Although some pathologists specialise in either perinatal or paediatric pathology, most work across both fields – diagnosing diseases and conditions affecting unborn babies through to older children. Perinatal pathology includes the study of disorders of the placenta, problems affecting unborn babies’ development, and causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal (newborn) death. A fundamental part of a perinatal pathologist’s role is to conduct autopsies on fetuses, and babies who are stillborn or die shortly after birth. They also carry out autopsies on older babies and children – sometimes to provide information in cases where a child has died under suspicious circumstances.

As a perinatal or paediatric pathologist, you’ll be part of a small specialty with fewer than 70 practitioners in the UK. Some paediatric pathologists are based in children’s hospitals, with perinatal work referred to them from surrounding obstetric units, and carried out in a dedicated paediatric mortuary. Others work in general histopathology laboratories and share mortuaries with other specialities.

Pathologists in this area work closely with laboratory staff and mortuary staff, as well as with doctors across many specialties. During your working day, you might spend time in the mortuary, laboratory, reporting at your microscope, and attending multidisciplinary team meetings. You’ll also be responsible for teaching trainees, and occasionally may need to attend coroner’s court as a witness at an inquest.

Important information for trainees about The Royal College of Pathologists and the organisation of training can be found on the College website.



National recruitment take place twice yearly. Successful applicants will enter paediatric & perinatal pathology raining at ST3 level, having passed the fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath) part 1 exam Many trainees do some research during their training, sometimes leading to a PhD or MD. Knowledge of research techniques, particularly with respect to molecular genetics, is embedded within the curriculum.

Important information for trainees about The Royal College of Pathologists and the organisation of training can be found on the College website.


The Programme

In Yorkshire and the Humber there are two training sites, Leeds and Sheffield, covering paediatric & perinatal services for the entire region. There are two posts, one based in Leeds and the other in Sheffield. Trainees spend a substantial time on both sites, and also have the opportunity to spend time in national centres to gain specialist skill as required by the curriculum. The training plans will be bespoke, depending on the background and entry point of the individual trainee. There is also opportunity to link closely to the general histopathology trainees in the region, as there are many areas in common, and great value in the wider peer group.

A robust process of educational supervision drives the training scheme and is based on the “Gold Guide” and sound educational principles. We are supported by our Training Programme Director (TPD). We have strong cohort of Educational Supervisors and you will be allocated a named supervisor who will guide you all the way through your training.

After completing paediatric & perinatal autopsies, and receive training in writing paediatric reports and presenting complex cases at multi-disciplinary meetings. The FRCPath Part 2 in Paediatric & Perinatal Pathology  is designed to test your practical skills and understanding, and show that you can apply your expertise appropriately and safely. Trainees have the opportunity to go on a management course attend at least once during their training, which is useful both preparation for consultant jobs, and for interview skills. The School also runs an in-house clinical leadership skills day, biannually for senior trainees.


Please find information on the two sites delivering this Programme below:


Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust comprises the major hospitals of Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital, with the pathology department being based at the latter. This department will serve as the base for most histopathology trainees throughout the five year training period, with a number of six-month rotations taking place here.     


The department is completely sub-specialised, with opportunity for experience in a wide range of specialist work such as cardiothoracic pathology, haematopathology, neuropathology and paediatric pathology, as well as more common specialities. Leeds acts as a referral centre for most of North and West Yorkshire, giving an opportunity to see a large number of rare and unusual cases. Wide-ranging experience in autopsy work and cytopathology is also available. 


Sheffield Childrens’ NHS Foundation Trust


This separate Trust has 159 beds and provides the main acute Medical and Surgical Diagnostic facilities. The Ryegate Centre for handicapped children has a residential unit of 20 beds, out-patient and assessment unit.  The University Department of Child Health and the University Centre for Human Genetics form part of the Western Bank complex.


The Hospital has an active oncology referral centre which offers experience with a wide range of childhood tumours.  Specialised histochemical techniques are applied to muscle biopsies, and to rectal biopsies for rapid diagnosis of Hirschsprung’s disease and allied disorders.  The department is equipped for immunohistochemistry.  A sub-regional autopsy service covers a wide range of fetal perinatal and post-perinatal deaths.