Statement from the Institute of Biomedical Science on the NHS Improvement’s (NHSI) letter to NHS Trusts about the 2016/17 financial position
IBMS President Ian Sturdgess CSci FIBMS highlighted the impact of NHSI plans to eradicate the financial deficit within the NHS will have on pathology services.
Referring to the three areas identified by NHSI for further action - back office and pathology consolidation, the elimination of pay cost growth, and unsustainable service consolidation - the IBMS President expressed disappointment that NHSI had deemed Pathology to be a: “back office service’, a view that is outdated and does not reflect the key role that pathology has in modern diagnostics and chronic disease management”.
In addition highlighting the essential role of Pathology as: “a clinically integrated specialist analytical and diagnostic service where the tests carried out by biomedical scientists contribute to 70% of clinical diagnoses within acute care and the community.”, he also warned NHSI against taking a “view that pathology services can be easily rationalised, centralised or down-sized with little negative impact on patient care, a worryingly naïve basis from which to drive a transformation process.”.
The IBMS President’s statement emphasized the savings already made by “networked services and consolidations,” and that “to abandon existing service plans in order to consolidate pathology services, irrespective of local arrangements or patient needs, is unlikely to save money and potentially could cost more in the long term”.
The Institute will be formally writing to NHSI to advise them of our concerns and ask them to reconsider their approach. The Institute will offer to work with NHSI to develop and support the implementation of alternative solutions.
Dr. Suzy Lishman, President of the Royal College of Pathologists, issued a statement urging NHS Improvement to reconsider their plans. The IBMS President similarly expressed his wish to work towards developing alternative solutions and to formally ask Jim Mackey and Ed Smith, CEO and Chairman of NHS Improvement to reevaluate their approach.
The Institute wishes to correct an error that had appeared in its statement on the reconfiguration of pathology services. Empath, the pathology collaboration between Nottingham University Hospitals and the University Hospitals of Leicester has not been unwound as stated previously. Both Trust Boards have reaffirmed their commitment to partnership working in pathology and a detailed planning process on what that partnership would look like is underway. A key criterion for any potential change is that the service to patients should not be compromised.
Click here to read President Ian Sturdgess CSci FIBMS's letter to Mackey and Smith.
Read here about the views of IBMS President Ian Sturdgess CSci FIBMS, Dr. Suzy Lishman of the Royal College of Pathologists, and Dr Gwyn McCreanor of the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine in their joint letter to Mackey on NHS Improvement.