South East London Pathology Services

Introduction

SYNLAB has formed a new pathology partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’, and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts to deliver and transform NHS pathology services across South East London. The contract started on 1 April 2021, and runs for 15 years, with the option to extend for a further five.

South East London’s pathology service will continue to have the needs of patients and local people at its heart. The new partnership will provide diagnostics, testing and digital pathology services for hospitals, GPs and other NHS healthcare providers, as well as for a number of other consumers across the UK.

SYNLAB and the NHS see next steps as being an evolution of local pathology services, building on the strengths of today’s service provided by Viapath and the NHS. The same excellent scientists, clinicians and other colleagues will continue to work under new partnership arrangements, and will be directly involved in delivering tangible improvements both to the quality of patient care, and to the experience of clinicians providing that care.

Faster testing services and state-of-the-art laboratories will help to improve outcomes for patients, enable more people to be cared for in the community instead of being admitted to hospital, and support the NHS in managing patient flows within its hospitals more effectively.
The new partnership will improve ways of working for clinicians and scientists, and will also deliver better value for money for the NHS.

As well as delivering pathology services and in line with the NHS’s own clinical vision and strategy, SYNLAB will be responsible for transforming existing hospital-based laboratory and diagnostic services into an integrated hub and spoke pathology network by 2024.

A state-of-the-art ‘hub’ laboratory will be developed at Friars Bridge Court, in Blackfriars Road, London, providing access to improved services and equipment for routine and some specialist testing. On-site hospital laboratories will be turned into essential services laboratories (the spokes), focusing on the rapid turnaround of urgent tests, such as those needed for A&E departments.

The hub will become one of the largest, purpose-built pathology laboratories in the UK, capable of processing around 70 per cent of all pathology activity in the region.

The NHS will also benefit from SYNLAB’s global laboratory and diagnostic network, which will provide access to a wide range of clinical, scientific and operational expertise, as well as innovative research and development on an international scale. This has proven to be extremely valuable in SYNLAB’s existing partnerships with the NHS, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where UK access to supplies was critical, and where knowledge of how SYNLAB’s diagnostic testing services had responded elsewhere in Europe helped to inform and strengthen our own response here in the UK.

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