Pathology is the study of disease, its causes and progression.
Nearly every patient in the NHS has had dealings with pathology services at some point. Every time you give a sample, it is analysed by a pathologist or pathology scientist, known as a biomedical or clinical scientist, depending on their skills and qualifications.
Pathologists look for abnormalities within samples but, quite often, these tests are performed to confirm everything is OK. Through preventative screenings, tests can help with the early detection of potentially fatal conditions.
Pathology also plays a major role in research, such as finding treatments for cancer and ensuring that blood transfusions are safe.
Collaboration across Lancashire and South Cumbria
Four hospital trusts in Lancashire and South Cumbria are working together to improve these pathology services for patients.
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, have been working on this project with staff and external partners. The project aims to provide a streamlined, sustainable service which is clinically and cost effective.
In Lancashire and South Cumbria, pathology staff and other stakeholders have been - and will be - fully involved in reviewing how services currently operate. Working groups have been finalising a number of clinical models and these will form the basis of the outline business case about how we configure our services in the future. All the options retain some pathology services in every hospital and centralising all pathology services is not an option that is being considered.
These are the key messages about the progress of the collaboration:
- We are planning to develop a collaborative pathology service across Lancashire and South Cumbria.
- The development of pathology collaboration supports the priorities of the ICS. The service will remain an NHS service delivered by NHS staff.
- We have involved staff including clinicians in meetings throughout the year to produce the plans for the service going forward, and staff update sessions for all staff are held regularly.
- As a diagnostic support service which is largely non patient facing, patients will not have to travel further or be affected adversely.
- The collaboration will ensure sustainability of the service and achieve value for money in terms of efficiencies.
- A larger, more sustainable service will be able to develop services to adopt the new technology that the current system would be unable to do, such as technological advances using personal genomic profiles to make cancer treatments more effective.
If you want more details, or would like to get involved in the review being undertaken by the Lancashire and South Cumbria Pathology Partnership, please contact Gillian Crankshaw.