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ACB statement on Proposals to Establish and Implement Pathology Networks in England

08/09/2017 13:32:50

NHS improvement has just written to NHS Acute Trust Chief Executives in England outlining proposals to establish and implement 29 pathology networks to deliver services for the whole of England. 


The objective is to establish pathology services that deliver the highest quality services to patients and maximise value for money, and to rapidly realise the clinical and financial benefits which NHS improvement believes will result.  The letter includes detailed proposals for each of the 29 networks.  It stresses that these are not intended to be definitive, and Chief Executives have an opportunity to propose alternatives which will achieve comparable benefits.


The ACB was made aware of the proposals through participation in the National Pathology Implementation Board.  We were not consulted during the development of proposals, and there was not an opportunity for them to be amended.  We indicated our scepticism that it would be possible to deliver the clinical and financial benefits intended.


The ACB supports the overall objective of delivering maximum clinical benefit from laboratory services, and minimising unnecessary variation.  In addition services should be delivered as efficiently as possible.  We recommend that heads of laboratories engage at an early stage with Chief Executives to discuss local proposals and suggest alternatives where appropriate.


Further details of the proposals can be found at

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