One of Europe’s biggest pathology firms has secured its first NHS contract as the Christie Foundation Trust becomes the latest trust to join up with a private provider to deliver pathology services.   

The Manchester-based cancer centre, one of the UK’s most prestigious specialist trusts, has entered into a joint venture with Synlab UK. The firm will now provide services at the centre.

The Christie Pathology Partnership will last for 10 years, with an option to extend the agreement for another five years after that, according to a trust spokeswoman.

The announcement comes at a difficult time for the trust after Monitor, the health sector regulator, recently launched an investigation into the behaviour of the organisation’s leadership team.

The watchdog is examining concerns that the board of the trust was not functioning well enough and had “not adhered to the required corporate governance standards”

The trust’s current pathology service provides a diagnostic and monitoring service for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

A Synlab spokesman told HSJ that initial revenue from the deal is predicted to be around £7m.

All on-site pathology services and relevant staff will remain at the trust. Clinical staff working in the laboratories at the Christie will transfer into the partnership and all pathology consultants will remain employees of the trust, a statement said.

Roger Spencer, the Christie’s interim chief executive, said: “The Christie Pathology Partnership reflects our vision to be a world-leading comprehensive cancer centre using the very latest technologies, working methods and diagnostic techniques to support improved patient outcomes.

The partnership will begin on 1 June, when staff, equipment and facilities at the Christie’s pathology laboratories will transfer to operating under the joint venture.