David Sloman (centre) signs contract for pathology joint ventureThe Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) and The Doctors Laboratory have (this week) signed contracts to form a partnership - Health Services Laboratories LLP - to provide state-of-the-art pathology and analytics services to the National Health Service. 

David Byrne, chief executive of The Doctors Laboratory and Health Services Laboratories, said: “This is a ground breaking partnership, bringing together The Doctors Laboratory’s experience in large scale clinical laboratory operations with the NHS trusts’ excellent environments for clinical care and teaching as well as research and development in diagnostics and our shared commitment to patients. Our intention is to develop a world-leading laboratory that delivers an unrivalled service to our patients and substantial efficiencies for the NHS.”

Health Services Laboratories is delighted to announce that Lord Carter will be its first chairman. In addition to a successful career in business Lord Carter has advised the government on a wide range of issues, including the pathology sector. The partnership will use the efficient hub and spoke system, recommended by his influential review of pathology services in 2008, to create a clinically-led organisation always aiming to maintain the highest quality standards and deliver substantial efficiencies to the NHS through, leading edge technology, adoption of best working practices, investment in infrastructure, IT and economies of scale.

David Sloman, chief executive of the Royal Free London said: “We aim to recruit, retain, motivate and develop the highest quality workforce by offering an excellent working environment, and opportunities for personal and professional development. It will also ensure all parties are best equipped to maximise research and educational opportunities ensuring the service stays at the forefront of patient care.”

Sir Robert Naylor, UCLH chief executive, said: “This new venture aims to deliver on the vision for pathology services outlined by Lord Carter in his seminal report. We have never been frightened about teaming up with the private sector when we know we can deliver savings for the NHS and – most importantly – better outcomes for patients. This is a model that is likely to be used more frequently in the NHS in the future.”

UCLH was the first NHS trust to develop a significant commercial relationship with an independent pathology company – The Doctors Laboratory - more than 10 years ago. The partnership has been extremely successful using the latest technology, combining volumes and saving tax payers’ money due to shared costs.

The partnership is expected to go live later this year once a number of regulatory issues have been completed, and has been awarded a ten year contract to provide pathology services the Royal Free London and UCLH.