8:00am Sunday 20th May 2012
Chief executives of four south-west London hospital trusts have announced plans to develop a single pathology service located at St George's Hospital.
In a joint statement, the chief executives of Croydon Health Services, Kingston Hospital, Epsom and St Helier's NHS Trusts and St George's Healthcare Trust, said the decision meant they could "develop and future proof our pathology services across south west London".
The decision to develop a new single pathology service was agreed at a Pathology Programme Board meeting on Thursday.
The recommendations will be presented to each of the Trust boards for approval in the coming weeks.
Patients should not experience a change in service and will continue to have their tests where they have them now- either at their local hospital or at their GP surgery, the board said.
However, the plans mean the behind the scenes laboratory aspects of the service will run from a single 'hub' for the majority of pathology work.
There will be labs at each acute hospital site to manage each Trust's very urgent work and to support services such as A&E.
The central hub will be located at St George's Hospital, but the board said "it will not be "owned" by St George's, but by all four Trusts equally."
The Programme Board confirmed they are keen to include the Royal Marsden Hospital as a "strategic partner" in the development because the Hospital offers both training and opportunities for staff and delivers "a cutting-edge molecular pathology service."
The board added: "We would like to reiterate that decisions made by the Programme Board are recommendations to the Trust Boards, with a plan to take a full business case back to them for final sign of later on in the year.
"At this stage, no final decisions have been made and all staff involved will be consulted on any proposed changes once the business case is complete."
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