A pathologist is a doctor who studies disease. By studying samples of body fluids or tissues in a laboratory, a pathologist can help your doctor diagnose a medical condition, or monitor the progress of a disease. Pathologists also study the causes of diseases.
- Take blood samples for blood tests
- Conduct laboratory tests of tissue, blood and body fluid samples
- Examine test results in order to understand what is causing an illness or to monitor treatments
- Submit the results of tests and their interpretations to referring medical practitioners and specialists
You need a pathology request form from a doctor to use the services of a pathologist.
Pathology services may be partly or fully covered by Medicare.
Pathologist fees are covered by some private health funds, but the amount will depend on your insurance policy. Contact your insurer for more information.
RegulationAustralian Health Practitioner Agency (AHPRA).
RegistrationPathologists must be registered through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), with the Medical Board of Australia.
Minimum qualificationsThe minimum education requirement for a pathologist is Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.
If you are nervous about having a sample taken, let your pathologist know and they will make every effort to make the experience more comfortable for you.
- If you are having a blood sample taken, check with your doctor or the pathologist about whether you need to have fasted (not eaten for a period of time) beforehand.
- When visiting a pathology centre, remember to take your pathology request form and your Medicare card with you.