Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will re-start in-house testing to diagnose cancer at King’s Mill Hospital, two years after it was on the end of damning reports that highlighted the hospital’s failings.
This is as a result of improvements and progress made within Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ histopathology service in the two years since a Care Quality Commission (CQC) review in December 2012 performed by The Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) and Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).
The immunochemistry service at King’s Mill Hospital undertakes a range of immunohistochemistry tests to help to diagnose and exclude all types of cancer and since the CQC report two years ago, to ensure patient safety, has been sending these cases for testing to another hospital.
The decision to re-start the service was taken on grounds of quality following a visit by RCPath and the IBMS in October. However, this does not include breast hormone receptor testing.
During the visit, two members of the original CQC review team were impressed with their visit to the laboratory and were satisfied that the recommendations from their report had been implemented.
Dr Rachael Liebmann, registrar of The Royal College of Pathologists said: ”We were delighted to see for ourselves how enthusiastically the trust had implemented our recommendations following the inspection in 2012, including crucial improvements to staffing and equipment.
“We heard from the patients, hospital consultants, quality assurance and breast cancer screening programme leaders that there had been demonstrable improvements to the quality of the pathology service as a result.
“One of the original concerns was that the trust’s governance systems weren’t rigorous or robust enough to be able to identify and escalate risks and issues regarding the service. Now, however, the critical work of the laboratory for patient care is clearly supported by the Trust management.”
“As a result, The Royal College of Pathologists is satisfied that immunohistochemistry testing can be reintroduced safely at King’s Mill Hospital.”
Nick Kirk, president, Institute of Biomedical Science said: “It is most encouraging to see the improvements made at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, following the recommendations made in The Royal College of Pathologists’ report. Robust governance systems and strong quality assurance processes are essential for ensuring safe, high quality pathology services and it is reassuring to see the progress made in these areas by the trust.
The college’s report raised important questions about the organisation of pathology departments and their workload, and the effectiveness of pathology quality assurance. In order to support pathology services in addressing these issues, the IBMS has produced expert advice and guidance for those responsible for the delivery and safety of pathology services.
The Institute will continue to support our members in driving the quality agenda forward; ensuring commissioners, clinicians and the public can be assured of the quality of pathology services and test results.”
Dr M Shafiq Gill, Head of Service for Cellular Pathology at Sherwood Forest NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to hear that The Royal College of Pathologists and the Institute of Biomedical Science team are satisfied with our governance and quality management systems. The cellular pathology team at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has worked very hard to develop appropriate systems which can ensure a high quality and safe diagnostic service. This has been achieved as a result of collaborative work with colleagues across the Trust, including those within the breast service and clinicians. This is in addition to support and guidance from RCPath, IBMS, East Midlands Breast Quality Assurance Reference Centres (QARC), and regional pathology departments. We would like to thank all of them for their support. An on-site immunohistochemistry service would mean improved or shorter test result turn-around times for our patients”.
Reports from the CQC on standards at King’s Mill Hospital and Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.