It is the School s mission to provide excellence in pathology in the form of service, teaching and research. The School has responsibilities to the Faculty of Health Sciences and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS). Staff within the School are offered dual appointments within the NHLS and the Faculty.
The School contributes to public health in South Africa through the provision of cost-effective, high quality diagnostic laboratory services to the public sector. The academic input provided by the different disciplines in the School is due to the joint undertaking of the NHLS and the University of the Witwatersrand. This leads to a rational approach to diagnostic testing with an added bonus of over-testing prevention and maximum clinical benefit.
With the restructuring of the Faculty of Health Sciences, the various disciplines have been combined into one School of Pathology with a Chairman at the head. This fits hand in glove with the NHLS s current management model and structure. The role of the School in the NHLS is vital and significant.
Three vital functions are provided by the School: service, research and teaching. The quality and affordability of services, appropriate quality assurance programmes, needs-orientated tests and referral laboratory services are a first line function of the School. Secondly, research departments are necessary to support diagnostic services and contribute to basic research in the understanding of disease processes whilst also allowing for R&D type research. The leverage provided by encouraging research choice can only result in positive outcomes for the country as a whole. The third arm of the School?s functions involves teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
With the challenges of the changes in health service provision, members of the School have an ideal opportunity to provide training for medical technicians, medical technologists, medical scientists and pathologists. To this end, training opportunities must not only be provided but escalated from current levels. The aim would be to not only provide laboratory services but produce productive personnel for the country. To this end, training of personnel in pathology service must surely be increased. Personnel in the School holding dual recognition appointments face the challenges of providing mentoring, tutoring and support for these new incumbents. The role of the Chair of the School of Pathology is to ensure opportunities in keeping with the vision of the NHLS and the University of the Witwatersrand.