Yorkshire health trusts to introduce shared system for vital medical tests with £12m from Boris Johnson's NHS cash injection

Health bosses in parts of Yorkshire will be able to introduce a single system for ordering and tracking vital medical tests after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the scheme was to receive £12m in funding as part of a cash injection for the NHS.

Monday, 5th August 2019, 5:45 am
Updated Monday, 5th August 2019, 6:45 am
Aerials of Leeds and surrounding areas, pictured a view looking down over Leeds City Centre, over Leeds General Infirmary showing the Air Ambulance landing pad. James Hardisty

The funding will be used to enable a single, system wide approach for pathology across West Yorkshire and Harrogate acute hospitals, including the Airedale, Leeds and Mid Yorkshire NHS trusts.

Mr Johnson's £1.8 billion cash injection for the NHS announced this weekend includes a one-off payment of £850m to be used for 20 hospitals, as he pledged on his first day in office.

But experts said the sum, while desperately needed, was just a fraction of what is required to fix ailing NHS buildings across the country.

Aerials of Leeds and surrounding areas, pictured a view looking down over Leeds City Centre, over Leeds General Infirmary showing the Air Ambulance landing pad. James Hardisty

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And politicians warned that his no-deal Brexit stance would jeopardise his spending ability, with Labour saying such a departure will "put lives at risk".

South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System is one of the 20 health organisations to benefit and will get a £57.5 million in investment in primary care.

Mr Johnson said: “GPs are often the first port of call for patients in need and today’s announcement is about backing our clinicians on the front line so they can give the best possible care to patients."

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership will receive £12m to implement a single, shared Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for the area, which will be run by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Once in place the system will mean test requests can be ordered, tracked and results reported electronically to clinical services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. All will have equal access to patient information, regardless of where the hospital is based.

Duplications in test requests will also be reduced as it will be possible to check whether a patient has already received a test prior to requesting. A single pathology service will mean testing processes and systems will also be standardised across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

Martin Barkley, CEO for Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust and CEO Lead for Pathology Services for West Yorkshire Association Acute Trusts said: "Our aim is simple – we want to place the patient at the centre of everything we do, by providing an efficient pathology service to GPs and our hospital colleagues.

"Pathology services in West Yorkshire and Harrogate have been working together for some time. In January 2019 we agreed to establish a single pathology network for the area and to deliver a single LIMS. We’re delighted to have received this funding. It reflects our collective priorities to embrace new technology whilst making the most of our staffs’ expertise and skills’."

Mr Johnson said: “Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust is rightly lauded as a standard bearer in services such as paediatrics, cardiac surgery and cancer – but world-class care can only continue to be delivered if we ensure money gets to the frontline as quickly as possible.

“The £12 million investment committed today will help maintain the highest standards of patient care, including through a new database on the causes and effects of major diseases, helping provide people more people with better and faster care.

“As Prime Minister, I have made it a priority to deliver for public services and the NHS. Today’s investment is an important step, especially for the million patients this Trust treats every year.”

Mr Johnson said he is "determined to deliver" the promises of the Brexit referendum campaign, as he announced the sum equivalent to roughly £3.5 million a week to be paid this year.

He has received continued criticism for the battle bus claim that leaving the European Union would allow the UK to take back control of £350 million a week, with some boosting the NHS.

Of the latest pledge, £850 million will go towards funding the vital upgrades to the 20 hospitals.

But Ben Gershlick, from the Health Foundation charity, said that "years of under-investment in the NHS's infrastructure means this extra money risks being little more than a drop in the ocean".

He warned that NHS facilities are "in major disrepair" in England, with a maintenance backlog of more than £6 billion, a figure also cited by other experts.

The chief executive at the Nuffield Trust health think tank, Nigel Edwards, said the sum "will only be a fraction of what it would cost to really upgrade 20 hospitals".

"Nobody should expect shiny new hospitals in their towns any time soon," he added.