Patient representatives have visited the new state-of-the-art Pathology First hub laboratory in Basildon.
Members of NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group’s Patient and Community Reference Group (PCRG) gained a fascinating insight into the facility which will serve almost 750,000 residents across South Essex and process around 12 million tests per year.
The PCRG is made up of volunteer members of the public who meet regularly to share their views with Basildon and Brentwood CCG on how changes to health services will affect their local communities.
Their tour of the laboratory – located in Bentalls on the Pipps Hill Industrial Estate – took place in advance of the facility going live later this month (April).
Pathology First is a joint venture between Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP).
iPP has committed to invest up to £10 million to transform the service and the first major project was to launch the new “Hub” laboratory, which was officially opened on the 2nd February by HR The Duke of Kent. This state of the art facility provides the highest specification testing technology and automation of testing.
Samples will be sent here for testing from the hospitals and from community locations supporting routine primary care and hospital test results. In addition, Essential Service Laboratories are being developed on site at both Southend and Basildon hospitals. These laboratories will focus on urgent testing. Based on iPP’s experience of having separated routine and urgent testing at other sites, turnaround times for both routine GP tests and urgent hospital tests will improve as a result.
PCRG Chair Alison Reeve said: “The visit was an excellent opportunity for members of our Patient and Community Reference group to be able to tour this state-of-the-art laboratory before it becomes fully operational. It was fascinating for everyone to be able to see all the different technology that will be used at the facility and to ask the Operations Manager questions about the process.
“We are currently looking to expand the membership of our PCRG and would particularly like to recruit volunteers living in the Basildon area, who are interested in their local healthcare services, to get involved.”
Find more information on participating in the Patient Community Reference Group which advises Basildon and Brentwood CCG’s Board and gives feedback to established patient and community groups here