The chief executives of each of the four hospital trusts in south west London have today announced plans to join forces to develop a single pathology service for south west London.

The four chief executive have released the following joint statement on behalf of the south west London pathology programme board:

“This decision means that we can develop and ‘future proof’ our pathology services across south west London to ensure that we are providing a top quality service for our local clinicians and patients.

“From the perspective of patients, nothing will change – they will still have their tests where they have them now – either at their GP surgery or their local hospital phlebotomy service. From the perspective of users of the service, such as GPs, the joint south west London pathology service will bring together the best of each trust’s service and provide these under one roof. By combining forces we can provide a service which will be more cost effective across the whole of south west London, as well as deliver a more consistent and even better quality service and user experience than we do now.

“Since last summer, the programme board has been looking at how we can all work together to review and improve the way that hospital-based pathology services are provided in south west London. We believe that working together as a single south west London pathology service does provide us with very significant benefits, including significant financial benefits, quality improvements and also education, training and research opportunities.

“The south west London pathology programme board met yesterday and agreed to being to develop a new single pathology service for the whole of south west London, which will be called the ‘SWL Pathology Service’. All four hospital chief executives confirmed that they are committed to developing this option, and this recommendation will be presented to each of the trust boards for approval over the next few weeks.

“The plans will mean that the behind the scenes laboratory aspects of the service will be run from a single south west London central ‘hub’ for most pathology work within the sector, including the tests that GPs request directly. There will also be smaller labs, or ‘spokes’, at each acute hospital site to manage each trust’s very urgent work to support servies such as A&E and so that local knowledge and clinical expertise will be retained at each hospital.

“The central hub is planned to be located on the St George’s Hospital site. It is important to note that although the main ‘hub’ will be based on the St George’s site, it will not be ‘owned’ by St George’s, but by all four trusts equally.

“The programme board confirmed that they are very keen to include the Royal Marsden Hospital as a ‘strategic partner’ in the development of their joint pathology service, as the Royal Marsden Hospital, has much to offer, particularly in terms of training and education opportunities for staff and delivering a cutting-edge molecular pathology service.

“Again 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 off 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.”

Notes to editors

The pathology programme board includes the chief executives of all four acute hospitals in south west London, along with the relevant clinical directors and also colleagues from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and St George's, University of London.

The four chief executives are:

  • John Goulston,
    Interim chief executive, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
  • Matthew Hopkins,
    Chief executive, Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust
  • Kate Grimes,
    Chief executive, Kingston Hospital NHS Trust
  • Miles Scott,
    Chief executive, St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

For all media queries please contact Alicia O'Donnell-Smith, communications lead for the pathology programme board on 2020 8934 2019.