Restructuring of hospital laboratories is an effort by government health programs to achieve economies of scale and, thereby reduce the cost of medical laboratory testing in England and Australia
Hospital-based clinical laboratories in both England and Australia are being closed by government health programs. These moves are intended to further consolidate medical laboratory testing into larger regional lab facilities and achieve lower costs through economies of scale.
This is being done at hospitals located in communities where the economies of scale don’t quite support the local provision of full-service clinical and pathology testing. Following announcements that a local hospital laboratory is to be downsized or consolidated, there is often pushback from community members and unions representing healthcare workers, including clinical laboratory scientists. (more…)
DATELINE—BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND: Workforce issues in medical laboratories received special attention here at the 10th Annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) conference that ended last week. Probably the major concern going forward is how to attract, train, and sustain adequate numbers in the medical laboratory workforce.
Two speakers addressed medical laboratory workforce issues at a strategic level, with an overview about developments in the United Kingdom and the United States. Speaking about the United Kingdom was Professor Sue Hill, OBE, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer for the National Health Service. Speaking about the United States was Elissa Passiment, Ed.M., CLS (NCA), Executive Vice President, American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS). (more…)
Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) attracted another record crowd of clinical laboratory managers and pathologists
DATELINE—BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND: Healthcare in the United Kingdom is undergoing a host of reforms. Consequently, medical laboratories in this country are scrambling to evolve in ways that allow them to serve the new line-up of primary care trusts and hospital trusts, even as payment for pathology testing services must be negotiated with commissioning bodies.
The many changes unfolding within the National Health Service (NHS) helped to attract a record crowd to the 10th Annual Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM), which was conducted in Birmingham, England. For the second year in a row, this conference was sold out.
Innovative pathology laboratory organizations in the UK and Europe will come together at the Frontiers in Laboratory Medicine (FiLM) conference on January 31-February 1, 2012
For decades, the pathology and medical laboratory service in the United Kingdom has been the envy of many developed nations. But times change and the National Health Service (NHS) finds itself coping with increased demand, shrinking budgets, and soaring healthcare costs. As a result, the NHS is asking pathology testing labs in the UK to do more with less.
Consequently, the status quo for pathology and medical laboratory medicine in the United Kingdom is undergoing fundamental change—often at a rapid pace. In some areas, multiple hospital laboratories are being asked to consolidate into a single regional lab organization.
Another change is that price competition for pathology testing has become a factor. Within the NHS, primary care trusts now tender for pathology testing services and commission those pathology laboratories that bid the most competitive prices. The tender and commissioning process is creating new economic winners and losers among pathology laboratories throughout the United Kingdom. (more…)
Media spotlight issues with pathology laboratories in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Recent news accounts in Canada about errors in anatomic pathology testing, and shortages of pathologists in certain regions, have made national headlines once again. In Manitoba, the problem centers on pathology errors. In neighboring Saskatchewan, the problem is a backlog of pathology cases and lengthy delays in reporting, which is blamed on an inadequate number of pathologists.
In response to news accounts about these problems, officials of the health authorities in both provinces assured the public that they could trust the quality of pathology testing services. However, some in the medical profession in Canada consider these latest developments to be unwelcome evidence that the medical laboratory testing establishment in different parts of the nation is under increasing stress.