Atlantis Medical News

Many Trusts stalling on NHSI Pathology Proposals

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05 MAR 2018

While there are plans in place for a regional pathology network to be set up, it appears there is not yet universal approval for this plan. In fact, according to analysis undertaken by HSJ, it appears less than 50% of areas have committed to these improvement plans. This can be seen in the fact that only 13 Trusts, of 29, have committed to the plans to set-up networks to save £200m by the 2020/21 era.

Twelve of these networks fall under a separate membership to the one proposed by the NHSI and some trusts are still waiting to confirm their membership of the scheme. There are trusts in four areas which have yet to receive proposals, and these trusts are still in negotiations with respect to being part of the network. Of course, there was a January deadline setup for plans to be passed to the NHSI, so this has already been missed

Efficiency reviews could create a pathway

The proposals were issued back in September of 2017 building on a suggestion listed by Lord Carter. There have been numerous efficiency reviews relating to the NHS of late and there is no denying that work needs to be done to save money in the organisation. Trusts were requested to confirm an outsourcing model or partnership to the NHSI by the 31st of January, with the plan for the network to operate in a “hub and spoke” manner. This would see standard laboratory work carried out at the individual spokes at various locations while the more complex work would be undertaken at the central hubs.

It is not as though this scheme is completely out of the blue or likely to require a lot of work for many organisations. This is because some of the networks already exist with examples being the Eastern Pathology Alliance, which is based in Norfolk, and the North West London Pathology network. There will be partnerships which will require next to no work at all to be up and running, although the formalisation of these agreements will be of benefit.

Many partnerships are already in place

The fact that many of the different organisations have established networks means that this isn’t a ground-breaking proposal but equally, it may not provide as many benefits as would be hoped for. No matter what work is being undertaken in the NHS, it is likely that there will be red tape and administrative issues to consider, and this could slow down the rate of change or even halt the potential impact of changes being made.

At Atlantis Medical, we believe that the proposals are positive and if they can develop in the right way, they could be of significant benefit to the NHS and to many patients. However, there have been many proposals and suggestions that don’t manage to live up to expectations. It is important that this style of scheme is given the opportunity to flourish as best it can.


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