Anatomical pathology technologists (APTs) support pathologists during post-mortem examinations, which involve examining and dissecting the body, removing and weighing organs, and taking samples for laboratory analysis.
APTs assist pathologists by passing instruments such as scalpels, recording their findings, performing special techniques such as spinal cord removal, and weighing the organs as they are taken out. At the end of the post-mortem the body will be reconstructed, organs replaced and the body cleaned ready for release to the undertakers for burial or cremation. Technologists highly experienced in all aspects of forensic procedure may assist forensic pathologists examining murder victims.
In addition to post-mortem work, APTs are responsible for the day-to-day running of the mortuary service. Their duties include keeping accurate administrative records, receiving sudden deaths, placing the deceased into cold storage units, liaising with doctors, police, coroner's office staff and funeral directors, and providing information and support to the bereaved.
APTs work up to 40 hours a week; shifts and on-call duties may be required.
For post-mortem work APTs wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves, a theatre gown, visor and boots. APTs need to be able to cope with unpleasant conditions.
As an anatomical pathology technologist, you should:
Most anatomical pathology technologists work in the NHS, but there are opportunities with local authority run public mortuary facilities. Currently there are more applicants than vacancies.
There is an established career structure for APTs, however, these vary throughout the UK.
APTs with sufficient experience and the RIPH Diploma, may apply for advanced technical work or managerial posts. Many experienced APTs will be involved in training other healthcare professionals.
If you would like to know anything about Anatomical Pathology Technician that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Royal Institute of Public Health (RIPH)
28 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7580 2731
Association of Anatomical Pathology Technologists UK
12 Coldbath Square
Tel: 020 7278 2151