pathologyA programme of work costing £2.4m is underway to modernise the Pathology Laboratories at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Improvements to the accommodation will modernise pathology procedures and enable the service to work more efficiently with faster processing of samples and a reduction in test turnaround times.

The work is being carried out in two phases.  The first phase is to refurbish the Microbiology Department including the laboratory and replacement of some equipment. Refurbishment of this area will help to improve the facilities that support diagnosis and treatment of patients with infections and support patient management by informing clinical teams of the use of the correct antibiotics in a timely manner. This work is expected to be completed by the end of March.

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Phase two is to refurbish the Blood Sciences Department which will allow the latest automated analysers for blood testing to be located together allowing for more efficient working and faster processing of patient test results.  This will help support other areas across the local NHS including the Emergency Department where fast production of Pathology results is vital to allow for diagnosis and treatment

Liz Thorne, Pathology Services Manager at St. Mary’s Hospital, said: “The Pathology Service has changed substantially over the years which meant the accommodation was becoming ‘not fit for purpose’, both in terms of housing the new technology required, and its ability to cope with the increased demands placed on the service; our workload has more than tripled.   Approximately 70-80% of all diagnostic decisions are influenced by pathology tests and people’s expectations are extremely high, whilst at the same time the government has set new challenges. The efficient and effective delivery of our pathology service is key to patient welfare.

“The refurbishment will allow us to implement a more streamlined process which will lead to quicker test results for patients and will allow better use of resources. The productivity of the Pathology Service is directly affected by the ability to handle samples safely and to dispose of these in a safe and effective way. It is important we have an environment which enables us to deliver a high standard of service which meets the stringent standards set by the Clinical Pathology Accreditation, Health and Safety Executive and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.”

A recent inspection highlighted that the diagnostic work was of a high standard and the calibre of the staff and the work they produced was extremely good however there were concerns expressed previously regarding the facilities. The existing Pathology Service moved into its current laboratories in the main hospital building during the latter part of 1991 and the design for the laboratory was planned and specified many years before then.

The work is due to be completed in the next few months.

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