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Pathology networks: five trust groups miss deadline

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How will England‘s new pathology map look?

Five trust groups are still deciding whether to take up the regional pathology network plans proposed by NHS Improvement (NHSI), more than a month after the 31 January deadline.

Back in September NHSI responded to the Carter review by asking NHS trusts in England to organise their pathology services into 29 networks, based on a hub-and-spoke model, to improve efficiency. Hubs are to take on complex and high-volume laboratory services, while the spokes will provide routine tests. Each network will service a population of between 1.5m and 2m.

HSJ approached all the hub trusts to find out whether they will follow NHSI’s suggested configuration and then published their answers.

The five undecided trust groups are in Manchester, Merseyside, the Northeast, east London and a region that covers parts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. A dozen trust groups have agreed with NHSI’s plans, while 12 networks have proposed alternative plans, or are awaiting confirmation from one or more members.

A few trusts have been left without a network, and it is not clear what will happen to these.

NHSI told HSJ that it would publish updated networks ‘in due course’.

Further information

HSJIn full: pathology network proposals
HSJNHSI pathology proposals agreed by less than half of trusts
HSJNHSI reveals nationwide pathology network plan
Gov.uk: Productivity in NHS hospitals
NHS Improvement: Pathology networks
Wellards news: Pathology network plan to save £200m