South East London Pathology Services:

New Clinical Lead Structure for NHS Pathology Partnership

Published: 19th April 2021

As SYNLAB begins its pathology partnership with the NHS, a new clinical structure has been designed to ensure that pathology services are truly clinically led. Building on Viapath’s existing good practice, this new approach is designed to maximise joined-up working across sites under a hub and spoke model.

The new structure will be based around the partnership’s clinical functions rather than by location. This involves replacing the site leads for Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College and Princess Royal University hospitals with seven Strategic Clinical Leads for each of the core groups: Tissue Sciences, Genomics, Haematology, Primary Care and Community Services, Clinical Chemistry and Immunology, Infection Sciences, and Research & Development and Innovation.

Reporting to a new pathology partnership Medical Director, the Strategic Clinical Leads will work with their clinical colleagues to set the strategic direction for their group and be clinically responsible for quality, clinical governance and leadership across the group. Each Strategic Clinical Leads will be supported by a laboratory operational team comprising Clinical Service Leads, Lab Operations Managers and Scientific Leads, as well as Quality Leads.

Benefits of the New Model

Changing the clinical leadership model in this way will build on the work that Viapath has done, while also bringing new benefits to colleagues across the South East London partnership.

Having Strategic Clinical Leads will enable clinical teams across the partnership to work more closely and ensure clinical leadership as we move towards a hub and spoke pathology network model.
Test harmonisation, the standardisation of clinical pathways and the development of the new LIMs are all key to the success of the partnership and the Strategic Clinical Leads will play an important role in achieving these.

Tracy Ellison, Transformation Director

Building strong new working relationships and sharing expertise across the group will also be a priority for the Strategic Clinical Leads. Their role will be key in helping to ensure that clinicians from across specialities are represented, engaged and able to influence key decisions, projects and other activities.

The group structure will also provide clinicians with the opportunity to contribute to the service development and strategic direction of both a particular group and the overall partnership. This, in turn, will help to ensure that there is equity of clinical access for all NHS service users.

Next Steps

Recruitment for the Strategic Clinical Leads continues, as does the search for a new Medical Director. There will be an internal recruitment process where clinical pathology medical colleagues from across both Trusts will be invited to apply – ensuring that each core group is represented.

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