Worries over Royal Preston Hospital blood bank transfer

Plans to centralise Lancashire's pathology services at Lancaster University are underway. Preston MP Mark Hendrick is concerned about its knock-on effects.
Plans to centralise Lancashire's pathology services at Lancaster University are underway. Preston MP Mark Hendrick is concerned about its knock-on effects.
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Preston’s MP has voiced his concern at the plans to centralise the county’s blood bank units in Lancaster.

The plans, by Preston and Blackpool hospitals, look to centralise their laboratory services within the next five years at a new £30m site at Lancaster University.

Preston MP Mark Hendrick, pictured, said: ‘I am very concerned about these plans to move the pathology services from Preston to Lancaster, which will have serious medical implications for patients across Preston, as well as for the staff who will be expected to move jobs some twenty miles away.

"Royal Preston has recently invested £3m on new state of the art technology making Preston the most efficient lab in the North West, so it makes no sense to me at all to move these services.

"I’m also concerned that highly skilled workers will be forced to move, which might not necessarily be viable for them, or they may choose early retirement instead as many of the senior staff are in their 50’s.

"In the meantime, a vital service will be lost in the region, potentially costing the NHS even more money if blood samples are not medically viable after delays in transport and potentially delaying life-saving detection and treatment.’

Programme Director of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Pathology Partnership, Jean Wright, said: “The current way of providing pathology services in the UK is not sustainable due to significant shortages of specialist workforce, increasing costs of technology, and ageing hospital facilities.

"Eighteen months ago hospital trusts in Lancashire agreed to work collaboratively to develop a more effective, efficient, and sustainable way of providing pathology services.

“Pathology staff and other stakeholders have been fully involved in reviewing how services currently operate and we are currently scoping options for different models of service provision. All of the options retain some pathology services in every hospital. Centralising all pathology services is not an option that is being considered.

“Last month NHS Improvement wrote to all trusts in the country to confirm that all hospitals must work together to provide pathology services in a more collaborative and shared way. Our review is in line with these recommendations, and we are making good progress.

“We will continue to work with staff and other stakeholders to develop a new way of working that ensures services are sustainable and high quality pathology services can continue to be provided for our local communities.”

The newly built site would be a 17 mile drive from Royal Preston Hospital and a 21 mile drive from Blackpool Victoria Hospital.