Clinical Immunology

Clinical Immunology is both a clinical and laboratory based speciality which consists of a 5 year training programme. This commences with entry at ST3 level after Core Medical Training is completed and having achieved MRCP or equivalent.

There is one post in Clinical Immunology and an Academic Clinical Fellow post held within the Health Education Thames Valley programme.

The first 3 months of training usually takes place in the diagnostic Immunology Laboratory, located at the Churchill Hospital, where trainees will spend time covering the main areas of the lab. These include Immunohistochemistry, Immunofluorescence, Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, Flow cytometry and Neuroimmunology. The Churchill Immunology laboratory is a leading diagnostic laboratory in neuroimmunology and performs a number of specialist neuroimmunology tests for the whole of the U.K.

After completion of the laboratory secondment, trainees will be expected to regularly authorise laboratory results. They will also participate in a number of specialist clinics. The Oxford University Hospital Clinical Immunology department is a Centre of Excellence for Primary Immune Deficiencies and trainees will regularly cover the primary immune deficiency clinics and immunoglobulin therapy infusion clinics .

Other clinics trainees will be actively involved include allergy clinics consisting of complex severe allergy, drug allergy, venom immunotherapy desensitisation and drug/food challenges. Trainees will also gain exposure to systemic autoimmune disease and vasculitis by providing cover for the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) complex connective tissue disease clinic.

There is a weekly clinical meeting held during which there is opportunity to present interesting clinical cases and discuss challenging clinical queries. A secondment to a specialist paediatric immunology centre eg Great Ormond Street Hospital and Allergy Centre for 3 months is also encouraged.

Throughout the post, a trainee’s progress is continually assessed and annually reviewed in the form of ARCPs. At the end of year 2/3, trainees should have completed the part 1 FRCPath examination in Immunology and by year 3/4, completed the part 2 FRCPath Immunology laboratory and oral examinations together with submission of a casebook or PhD thesis. The Association of Clinical Pathologists organises regular training days consisting of a series of lectures throughout the year covering relevant topics pertinent to the FRCPath examinations. Trainees are encouraged to attend these valuable training days which aid in the preparation for the FRCPath.