New labs open for shared pathology service
A £7 million investment in new pathology laboratories for hospital and family doctors in central and eastern Norfolk has led the creation of one of the biggest cervical screening units in the country undertaking up to 50,000 cervical smear tests a year.
The Cellular Pathology departments at the Norfolk and Norwich University and James Paget hospitals have merged to form the Norfolk and Waveney Cellular Pathology Network, based at laboratories on the Norwich Research Park. The new labs came into operation on Monday July 11.
Cellular pathology is the science of examining tissue and cell samples to help doctors make a diagnosis which in 20 per cent of specimens may prove to be cancer. The new Norfolk and Waveney Cellular Pathology Network means the county has one of the biggest cervical screening departments in the country undertaking up to 50,000 cervical smear tests a year. All network staff are employed by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust.
Staff voted to name the new laboratory the Cotman Centre, after the renowned Norfolk artist John Sell Cotman. Builders R G Carter started conversion work on the building at the beginning of October 2004.
The Cotman Centre will also be home to Norfolk’s new radiology academy, announced in 2003 by the Department of Health and Royal College of Radiologists. The academy means the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital will spearhead a groundbreaking approach to radiology training in the UK, with Norwich home to one of only three new Radiology Academies in the country, the others located at Plymouth and Leeds
Dr Virginia Sams, consultant histopathologist at NNUH, said: “Demand from hospitals and family doctors for cellular pathology services has been growing year on year and we are delighted we now have new facilities which will benefit both patients and staff. ”
David Hill, chief executive of the James Paget, said: “This is an excellent example of the NHS working in partnership to both raise the clinical standards we offer to patients and the working conditions of our staff.”
The new Norfolk and Waveney Cellular Pathology Network will serve the cellular pathology needs of Norfolk and north Suffolk.
The move of cellular pathology to the Cotman Centre also creates more laboratory space within NNUH for Chemical Pathology and Haematology services.