Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have signed a contract with Integrated Pathology Partnerships (iPP), to form a new pathology services joint venture.

Under the joint venture the Trusts and iPP will deliver the full range of laboratory services together, whilst the clinical interpretation and clinical advice functions will continue to be provided by the Trusts’ medical staff who will remain employed by the NHS. The partnership is expected to last 20 years.

Plans for a multi-million pound state of the art laboratory in Taunton to house the new pathology service are already underway. It will be located on a new site near the M5 and designed to allow high quality, efficient processing of routine and non-urgent testing. There will be an essential services laboratory at both Musgrove Park and Yeovil District Hospitals to ensure that all urgent and essential tests remain available on-site. The current patient referral process for tests will remain unchanged.

Whilst the partnership will initially focus on providing services to both Trusts, which provide healthcare for a population of 500,000 along with over 100 GP practices in the area, the joint venture has been deliberately structured in a way that allows other Trusts in the region to join the collaboration and benefit from investment in the new service and the wide range of innovations and service improvements it will deliver.

Speaking about the project, Jo Cubbon, Chief Executive of Taunton and Somerset NHS FT, and Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive of Yeovil District Hospital NHS FT, said: “This is a good deal for the NHS. It enables both Yeovil and Musgrove Park Hospitals to benefit from greater investment in pathology which will help our patients for years to come. We are delighted to have iPP as our partner.”

Geoff Searle, Chief Executive, iPP, said: “iPP is dedicated to enabling UK healthcare organisations to strengthen the quality, delivery and efficiency of pathology services. We are very excited about this opportunity to enhance and develop pathology services in the region through our partnership with the Trusts. Our collective vision is to build on what is already an excellent service and enhance this further by the contribution of iPP’s investment, expertise and experience.”

iPP was jointly founded by Labco, a major European clinical diagnostics company, and Sodexo.

The new joint venture will trade as SPS (South West Pathology Services).

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