Independent research organisation MindMetre has questioned the benefits of consolidating pathology laboratories within the NHS Trust system, saying the key to improvements lay in improved efficiency.
In a report that canvassed 30 lab managers and principal biochemists in England and Wales, MindMetre suggests that efficiency savings plans need review.
Paul Lindsell, MindMetre managing director, stated: “A knee-jerk push to consolidate pathology labs is not an easy universal panacea.
He added: “In fact, there may be a rationale to put greater resources into pathology services, so long as they are strictly pegged to productivity improvements.”
...it would be a mistake to potentially squeeze such resources in the National Health Service
Paul Lindsell, managing director, MindMetre
The company’s conclusions contrast with Lord Carter’s report published in February. Operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals: Unwarranted variations concluded that, if benchmarks for pathology appeared unlikely to be achieved by April 2017, then trusts should have “agreed plans for consolidation and outsourcing” by the start of the year.
MindMetre said its research cautioned against the imposition of such tight deadlines, arguing the solution lay in better laboratory efficiency and improvement drives.
Said Lindsell: “There is evidently significant headroom for efficiency and productivity gains in pathology workflows and emerging technology. Our report recognises frustrations that greater productivity gains have not yet been achieved.
“However, we also suggest that the through-the-line benefits that pathology services offer mean it would be a mistake to potentially squeeze such resources in the NHS.”
Details of the MindMetre research can be viewed here.