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Fears Over Hospital's Plans To Move Pathology Services Out Of County

Dorset County Hospital 1

6:44am 3rd June 2014

Dorset County Hospital say they're reviewing their pathology unit to ensure they're getting "the best value" for patients.

The Unit could be run by a private company in the near future but health campaigners are calling on health bosses to think again.

Across the country, changes are being made to centralise pathology units.

The recently formed Dorset Health Campaign group are worried a potential move to a specialised private pathology unit in Taunton in Somerset, will lower standards of patients care and delay lab results.

West Dorset Councillor Ros Kayes is one of those who're worried about any such move away from Dorset County Hospital:

"If that tender goes to a private company, is it going to the private company because they're going to cost less and will they do a less quality job? If they do a worse job who is going to suffer?  The patients obviously!"

Dorset County Hospital (DCH) Chief Executive Jean O'Callaghan told us in a statement there's a need to review the pathology unit to ensure quality and best value for money:

"Nationally there is a move towards centralising pathology services rather than having a full pathology service in every hospital as this is more sustainable for the future and maintains quality. A review by Lord Carter in 2008 identified the need for such moves."

"Many hospitals have already pursued this - the Taunton laboratory hub is a joint venture between Taunton and Yeovil NHS Foundation Trusts and a private provider.

"Quality standard requirements are much higher now for laboratory services and it is difficult for smaller centres like ours to keep up with these, to invest in the latest equipment and to recruit the necessary staff."

Bridport Councillor Kayes told us other pathology units that have been privatised elsewhere haven't performed well:

"There were delays in results, some incorrect results, and material getting corrupted and the job had to be done again. That sort of thing isn't good enough. You can't put a cost on people's health."

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