Private path labs introduced4th August 2006
Private firms are being called in to speed up NHS pathology tests, the government has announced.
£1 million has been set aside for 12 pilot schemes to use private sector testing and increase efficiency in NHS-run services.
Pathology services include blood tests, cervical smear tests and checks on tissue samples, such as biopsies to detect cancer. Around 70 per cent of all diagnoses involve a pathology investigation and demand for these tests has been rising by 10 per cent each year.
The announcement, which comes as part of a review into pathology services, has sparked concerns over fragmenting the NHS and allowing private firms to pick up easy money. Pathology services cost the NHS around £2.5bn a year.
The plans were announced in response to a review of pathology services in England, which called for improvements.
The 12 pilots will run until 2008/9 when the most efficient ways of working will be expanded across England.
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Title: Private path labs introduced
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 613
Date Added: 4th Aug 2006