Pathology merger plan gets green light

Pathology merger gets go-ahead.
Pathology merger gets go-ahead.

A health watchdog has rubber-stamped bold plans to merge Whiston Hospital’s pathology services with another regional centre.

Monitor launched a review into the plan after local NHS chiefs won a bid to run a joint operation with their counterparts at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

But following a two month-long probe, officials now say they are confident the proposal is “unlikely” to have a negative impact on patients and can now go ahead.

The cost-cutting move was put forward as part of a package of national measures aimed finding more productive ways of working in the NHS.

The merged service will be based at either St Helens or Whiston hospital and no jobs will be affected.

A Monitor spokesman said: “Monitor found that there is unlikely to be a negative impact as a result of a reduction in choice and competition. It also found that the proposed merger is not likely to reduce incentives for the trusts to improve other services for patients.

A spokesman for St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospital NHS Trust said: “As from October 2014, the Trust will be providing pathology services in collaboration with Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

“The combined service will process more than 2.5 million pathology samples each year which will be delivered from laboratories at Whiston, Southport and Ormskirk hospitals.

“This enhanced joint working will deliver a safer, more productive and better quality service for patients and without any job losses.”