• Twenty seven genomic partner trusts named alongside seven hubs
  • High profile genomic testing hub network will not be fully operational for another 18 months

Seven hub trusts and 27 partners have been selected to be part of a high profile new genomic test network, but will not be fully operational for a further 18 months.

The procurement of genomic labs has been carried out as part of a push to expand testing, while reducing the number of centres and standardising cost and quality.

HSJ has identified the 27 partner trusts which are involved as partners of the seven genomic lab hubs, which were announced by NHS England earlier this month (see below).

It has also been confirmed to HSJ that the networks will not be operating under their final service model and specification for another 18 months, until March 2020.

NHS England said there would be an 18 month transition period from now to ensure services are safe and robust.

A copy of the clinical business case for the scheme, dated December 2017 and seen by HSJ, indicated hubs would be largely operational by this month.

It said hub bids would include plans for “mobilisation… covering April 2018 to October 2018” and from “October 2018 onwards to deliver a fully operational service”.

There was a five month delay in signing contracts, as HSJ previously reported, which may explain delay.

NHS England said the funding model for genomic testing would remain the same until March next year, and would change over time. The business case described how current contracts and prices vary depending on location, contract type, and who orders or commissioners the test.

An NHS England spokesman said: “The NHS genomic medicine service began to rollout at the start of October 2018 as planned, with laboratory infrastructure in place to support this. NHS England is working closely with the successful sites to move to the new service during the transition period, while supporting existing services.”

Contract model

The seven hubs are led by a single trust, which will be contracted by NHS England. The hubs in turn will sub-contract to a further 27 trusts. Before this reconfiguration there were 17 regional genetic centres.

The NHS England contracts are for five-and-a-half years, with an option to extend for a further two years. The cost of each has not been given.

The 2017 business plan said: “The delivery of the majority of the volume of core tests for a geographical area will be through a single laboratory providing a seven day week service in respect of cancer and rare diseases.” It said each hub would be able to “develop local networks with subcontracted and other designated providers to… to ensure standardisation and consolidation opportunities”.

In 2015 NHS England established 13 genomic medicine centres, to help deliver the high profile 100,000 genomes project. It is currently considering how these will operate in the future.

Genomic Laboratary hubs and their partners
Wessex and West Midlands GLH : 5 trusts involved
Lead: Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT
Partners: Salisbury FT, Oxford University Hospitals FT, University Hospital Southampton FT, University Hospitals Birmingham FT
East Midlands and East of England GLH: 3 trusts involved
Lead: Cambridge University Hospitals FT
Partners: Nottingham University Hospitals Trust; University Hospitals of Leicester Trust
North West GLH: 6 trusts involved
Lead: Manchester University FT
Partners: Aintree University Hospital FT; The Christie FT; Lancashire Teaching Hospitals FT; Liverpool Women’s FT; Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust
London North GLH: 8 trusts involved
Lead: Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children FT
Partners: Royal Marsden FT, Barts Health Trust; Imperial College Healthcare Trust; Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust; Royal Free London FT, University College London Hospitals FT
London South GLH: 6 trusts involved
Lead: Guy’s and St Thomas’ FT
Partners: King’s College Hospital FT; St George’s University Hospitals FT, South London and Maudsley Ft; Royal Brompton & Harefield FT; Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust. 
South West GLH: 2 trusts involved
Lead: North Bristol Trust  
Partners: Royal Devon and Exeter FT
Yorkshire and North East GLH: 4 trusts involved
Lead: The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals FT
Partners: Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust; Sheffield Teaching Hospitals FT; Sheffield Children’s FT

Updated on 1 November 2018 at 11am to include additional trusts involved in the North West hub