Failing pathology service set for shake-up - The Stratford Observer
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Failing pathology service set for shake-up

Stratford Editorial 20th Oct, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THERE is set to be be a shake-up of blood taking, mortuary and laboratory services at South Warwickshire Foundation Trust after the service was found to be failing.

The pathology department – which runs the services – is currently part of a network which also includes George Eliot Hospital and is overseen by University Hospital Coventry (UHCW).

But over the past year a number of issues with the service have been flagged up, including laboratory and mortuary staff shortages.

There has also been long-standing patient dissatisfaction with phlebotomy – blood taking – services. In a recent survey patients said they were particularly fed up with waiting times.

To resolve the issues, the trust – which runs Warwick, Leamington, Stratford and Shipston hospitals – is planning to take back operational control, as they had before joining the network seven years ago.

Trust chief executive Glen Burley said: “Over the past year we have discussed a number of operational issues with pathology services which have adversely affected patient care.

“These now represent significant quality and reputational risks to the trust and we therefore need to take action to mitigate them.

“It is clear that the operational management model currently in place is not fit for purpose.”

Last year histopathology consultants – who perform post-mortems and examine tissue cells for cancer – were transferred back to the trust from UHCW.

And hospital bosses say since the consultants returned the service has improved, which leads them to believe running the pathology services closer to home would have the same effect.

Mr Burley said: “The transfer back to the trust last year of the consultants has demonstrated that local management and accountability can deliver a much more effective and resilient service to our sites.

“As a consequence I have notified the network we now would like to transfer back to the trust those staff who work on our sites as quickly as possible.”

This now means management of phlebotomy, mortuary and laboratory staff will soon be once again ran by the trust.

The trust will still remain a part of the network, and specialist testing will continue to be carried out at University Hospital.

Mr Burley said: “With the potential for further expanding the network, we feel that this is an operational model which may work more effectively

“We remain a committed partner of the pathology network and are in discussion with our partner organisations on the future strategy and business model.”

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