COMMERCIAL: An advisory panel chaired by the Department of Health’s national director for pathology has backed plans for a reconfiguration of pathology services in the Bristol area.

The plans will see one central labaratory set up at North Bristol Trust to cover all tests with a tuenaround time longer than 120 minutes from North Bristol, University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust and Weston Area Health Trust. The central laborataory will also carry out work for the HPA which also currently has its own facility in the area. The two acute trusts will have on site “essential” laboratories for tests that are needed quickly.

Following presentation of the plans, the panel described the reconfiguration as a “fantastic opportunity” but asked for evidence of “how the service will become more efficient by sweating assets, reducing duplication, adopting flatter structures, consolidating back office functions and investigating more affordable solutions which shorten the return on investment”.