12 September 2017
National guidance published last week by NHS Improvement (NHSI) on the future of pathology services, proposes the consolidation of 105 individual pathology services within NHS hospitals in England into 29 networks. Alongside national savings of around £200million by 2021, laboratories will also benefit from increased efficiencies, reduced variation and better outcomes for patients.
In 2013 the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust and Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust formed Liverpool Clinical Laboratories (LCL), a joint contractual venture. Earlier last year, LCL successfully reconfigured the laboratory at Aintree as a spoke laboratory to a hub laboratory at the Royal. Following the successful establishment of the proposed service delivery model between the host Trusts; Liverpool Clinical Laboratories fully supports the proposed network model for Merseyside.
Collaboration on a service delivery model is a complex and challenging process, but there is no doubt that consolidated purchasing and standardisation of processes will reduce variation and result in higher quality care for patients in Merseyside.
The Liverpool City Region is home to more specialist hospitals than any other UK city outside London and is one of three Life Science clusters in the country, with more than £1 billion recently invested in the NHS, universities and research centres. A larger pathology service will not only bring enhanced benefits to an already flourishing life sciences sector in the North West but increased career opportunities for our NHS workforce.
Jane Mills, Managing Director, Liverpool Clinical Laboratories said:
‘LCL is in a fortunate position, that much of the hard work establishing a hub and spoke model has been completed over the last five years. Merseyside as a network however is only at the beginning of the journey and there is still a lot to do. Fortunately there are a number of successful models which we can learn from, such as South West London Pathology.
We’ve also learned a lot from the reconfiguration of our laboratories which will help us when planning future staff engagement sessions, informing digital infrastructure and transportation arrangements, which are all key enablers for ensuring the success of the project.’
Steve Warburton, Chief Executive of Aintree University Hospital and Chair of Liverpool Clinical Laboratories, added:
“We believe the new laboratory at Aintree provides a potential blueprint for future spoke configurations. We would welcome colleagues from other hospitals who want to visit our facility to help them understand how a hub and spoke model can operate in practice to support a busy teaching hospital.”