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GSTS Pathology and King’s College Hospital join forces to become UK’s largest provider of pathology services

21st September 2010

The first ever tripartite joint venture between multi-NHS foundation trusts and the private sector signals new future for pathology

GSTS Pathology, a joint venture between Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Serco Group plc, and KingsPath, the pathology services of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, today announce a new partnership which forms the UK’s largest provider of world-class pathology services. 

The partnership establishes a single pathology service for King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) and will enhance the AHSCs combined ability to fund innovation and drive research forward.

The new joint venture contract confirms a Go Live date of 1 October 2010 for the £1 billion partnership. The organisation will become the principal provider of pathology for Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s and Bedford Hospitals.  It will also provide for a range of other NHS organisations and will be positioned well to take on further provision for pathology services.

The creation of the partnership follows the publication in 2008 of an independent report carried out by Lord Carter of Coles into pathology services in England. The report made a series of recommendations, including the creation of a small number of well equipped facilities to provide the vast majority of pathology services in England. The majority NHS-owned partnership will create a new organisation designed to make the Carter vision reality and to ensure a continued focus on patient care.

This unique partnership will combine all staff from the renowned Clinical Diagnostic Pathology Service at King’s with GSTS.  KingsPath staff will remain NHS employees, retaining their NHS pensions and NHS staff benefits.  They will continue to receive robust career development and training opportunities: GSTS prioritises staff development with a training programme that is pathology-focused - an approach that will be carried forward by the new partnership.

More than 70% of medical decisions in the UK are based on a pathology test. GSTS carries out 7 million tests a year for 1000 customers, while KingsPath is home to one of the largest, integrated, automated laboratories in Europe. The new joint venture will carry out in excess of 10m tests a year. 

Kevin Cox, Managing Director of GSTS Pathology said:

“At GSTS we are committed to providing world-class pathology services, and to developing a world-leading team, to drive greater innovation and productivity, and so provide the best possible service to patients.  Forming a strategic partnership with Kingspath and King’s College Hospital enables us to offer an even greater repertoire of high quality tests, alongside unrivalled service delivery excellence.  I look forward to working with both King’s and Guy’s and St Thomas’ to provide a pathology service that excels in its response to the changing needs of today’s NHS.”

Tim Smart, Chief Executive of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to join forces with Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Serco PLC to form this unique partnership. I am confident the partnership will improve the first-rate pathology service we already provide, whilst also safe-guarding the expertise and specialist knowledge we have within the Trust.

 “This will also build on the strong links we have already developed with Guy’s and St Thomas’ through King’s Health Partners. This pathology partnership will help us retain a strong focus on research and development, so that patients benefit from innovations and new developments as quickly as possible.”

Ron Kerr, Chief Executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust said:

“This innovative partnership brings together complementary skills that will broaden and deepen the service offering we can make to our clinicians and ultimately to our patients.  Working together for the benefit of the whole NHS is the future of pathology and we are pleased to welcome King’s as an integral part of this cutting-edge team.”

Alastair Dick, Managing Director, Serco Health, said:

“The pathology service at King’s College Hospital is one of the foremost in the country and we are proud to work in partnership with them, alongside Guy’s and St Thomas’.  The joint commitment to excellence is shared by all parties and we are confident that Serco’s skills in service management and logistics will continue to complement the clinical and scientific excellence that abounds at both NHS foundation trusts.”

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