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Keeping Pathology Services At Dorset County Hospital Will Help Save Lives

pathology lab

1:04pm 3rd July 2014

A leading health professional has told Wessex FM keeping a pathology lab at Dorset County Hospital will help save lives.

Keith Miller is the Director of the quality control service for cancer testing in the UK.

He says patients with lung cancer and malignant melanoma often show their symptoms late, and time is of the essence;

"By having the testing done quickly they can sometimes get the drug more quickly than if you were sending it off somewhere else. So I think a testing centre for West Dorset and the region would be helpful in saving lives in the long term."

Bosses at Dorset County have put a contract for the lab out to tender.  

Dorset County Hospital (DCH) Chief Executive Jean O'Callaghan told us they 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."

3,000 people have now signed a petition to keep the pathology lab at the hospital and for it to remain publically owned.

Dorset has one of the highest rates of prostate cancer in Europe.

Keith Miller thinks we need a local service;

"It should be a little bit more cost effective to have it locally but certainly for cancer patients its more important that they do have some good testing locally to help get the test results quickly to patients and not have to send them away so much."

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