Forensic Pathology


Programme Director Contact Specialty Programme Coordinator

Specialty Programme Coordinator - Joanne O'Brien

People Services Officer Lead Employer Trust - Allyson Ashwell / Christian Collins - 0191 275 4753/4783

Forensic pathology is the discipline of pathology concerned with the investigation of deaths where there are medico-legal implications, for example, suspected homicides, death in custody and other complex medico-legal cases.

Much of the day-to-day work of forensic pathology is performing autopsies, for example in a case of stabbing, shooting or head injury, which are common methods of homicide in the United Kingdom. These autopsies are usually carried out under the authority of the coroner in England and Wales, with police present. In England and Wales, forensic pathologists are accredited by the Home Office.

Aside from performing autopsies, attendance at both Crown court and the coroner’s court are frequent, necessitating explaining medical issues to juries as well as relatives. Contact with other pathologists is important, for example cardiac pathologists, respiratory pathologists and neuropathologists. The career also gives the opportunity of working with non-medical personnel such as police, barristers and lawyers.


Specialty training in Forensic Pathology includes basic histopathology training as well as aspects of surgical pathology, autopsy and cytopathology. Training takes 5 years and 6 months in full time training. In the North East, forensic pathology trainees will be based in the Royal Victoria Infirmary -  Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


To find out more about training in forensic pathology in HEENE please look at: Training in Forensic Pathology as well as the Forensic Pathology Curriculum.

To find out more about our region and Trusts please visit the Find Your Place website.



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