The WYAAT Pathology Programme has established a network for pathology services in West Yorkshire and Harrogate to address challenges around staffing, increasing demand, and upgrading equipment, so we can invest in developing services and staff to improve our services.

In line with the recommendations from the two Carter reports (Report of the Review of NHS Pathology Services in England and Report of the Second Phase of the Review of NHS Pathology) and national NHS England requirements, some pathology testing will soon be moved into ‘hubs’ across the region; however, each trust will retain onsite testing to support acute care needs.

New Pathology Partnership

We are in the process of creating a collaborative partnership between three of our trusts – Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust already exist under a ‘joint venture’ (which is another name for a collaborative partnership) for the delivery of their laboratory services, which has key benefits including driving improvement in economies of scale and improved performance.

These two partnerships will work together to deliver services to the whole population of West Yorkshire and Harrogate through the network.

The first part of this work is the implementation of a new Managed Service Contract (MSC) for equipment and consumables, to ensure the new partnership has the right equipment installed in the right location to support the effective delivery of the service.

Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)

WYAAT is currently working towards implementing a single shared LIMS, which will allow all six trusts to share work across laboratories and provide much-needed technical resilience.

Using capital funding, we have purchased a solution to enable the trusts to share results through ICE (a system which allows staff to electronically request pathology tests and view results), providing clinical users with a more complete patient history.

For the past two years, the six pathology departments have worked collaboratively to harmonise test codes and working practices, making it easier to work across sites and reducing unwarranted variation. Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are the first two sites to go live with Blood Transfusion and Cellular Pathology.

LIMS project manager: Janine Bontoft,

National Pathology Imaging Co-operative (NPIC) Programme

The Network will deploy digital pathology to our trusts and be used to develop artificial intelligence to improve diagnosis.

The pathology programme is closely involved in the roll out of digital cellular pathology as the first trusts to deploy the technology within NPIC. This will create digitised images of cellular pathology microscope slides, enabling them to be stored, shared and reported digitally.  

Histopathology and Cellular pathology

Clinical and operational leads from all six trusts in the Network are currently reviewing our services in order to:

  • meet the challenge of increasing demand and complexity
  • maintain the current workforce and develop the workforce of the future
  • deliver the service that patients and service users required
  • realise the benefits of networking

The Centre for Laboratory Medicine

We are also part of the new Centre for Laboratory Medicine at St James’s University Hospital, which was completed in May 2023. Work is now underway to move our services into the facility in a phased approach incorporating staff and equipment from Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust. The new laboratory will offer fast, accurate testing services to hospitals in our 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. 

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