We are working to develop a network for pathology services in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. This is to address challenges around staffing, increasing demand and upgrading equipment, and will mean we can invest in developing services and staff to improve services for patients. In line with the recommendations from the two Carter reports and NHS Improvement requirements, this will bring some testing into ‘hubs’ but each trust will retain onsite testing to support acute care needs.
A strategy has been agreed by all six trusts, which sets out the delivery model and structure for the network. Work is underway to deliver this, led by the pathology collaboration group, which comprises the pathology leads and clinical directors for pathology from each trust. It is overseen by the Pathology Network Board, which has executive director representation from each trust and is chaired by Martin Barkley, Chief Executive of MYHT and lead chief executive for the programme.
During late 2019 and early 2020 we have been focused on working with our clinical and scientific teams to develop a specification and procure a single Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to support the network approach, enable joint working and ensure all trusts have access to the latest technology. We will be starting to implement the new system from Autumn 2020.
The pathology programme is closely involved in the roll out of digital cellular pathology. This will create digitised images of cellular pathology microscope slides, enabling them to be stored, shared and reported digitally.
We are also developing a new state of the art laboratory facility at St James’s University Hospital that will support the six trusts in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. This will offer fast, accurate testing services to hospitals in the region. It will also provide specialist testing to help meet the growing need in our region for more specialist health services, like heart or neurosurgery.