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Alan Deacon

Pathology has been a significant part of my career for the past 33 years – ever since I stumbled into biomedical science as a fresh-faced graduate hoping to pay off my student debt. This accidental opportunity sparked a passion and enthusiasm for laboratory medicine which has never left me and has guided my development from trainee to ever more senior and complex roles.

I initially had a keen interest in training and education, but, as my knowledge and experience gained momentum, I became much more involved with service redesign and collaboration. Today, the latter part of my career has been centered on using systemic leadership to effect positive change both within pathology services and the wider health system.

Unfortunately, all good stories have adversity and mine is no exception. I suffered a stroke in 2015 which saw me interact with a variety of diagnostic modalities up close and personal! On reflection, it showed me the important interplay between diagnostics and clinical decision making. When I recovered, it reinforced my commitment to do all that I could to support the services that had made me well again.

I’ve been the National Pathology Programme Lead in Wales since 2022. I have seen not only the excellent work that pathology services deliver but also the significant challenges they face. Following a critical reevaluation, and with strong remit from the Welsh government, I have worked hard to effect positive change. I absolutely love my current role, as it allows my team to make a significant difference for services on the ground. I am in an incredibly privileged position to lead a program that can influence national policy, as well as strategic decision-making and operational delivery. I believe this tripartite sweet spot is a once-in-a-lifetime role that has tangible effects on pathology.

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