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Fears allayed over £31m health plans

Urgent pathology services will remain at Blackpool Victoria Hospital under the new plans.
Urgent pathology services will remain at Blackpool Victoria Hospital under the new plans.

Urgent care will not be affected by £31m plans to centralise Lancashire’s pathology services, health chiefs have said.

The bold project would see non-urgent analysis work moved away from the Fylde coast and to a new facility in Lancaster.

Dr Amanda Doyle

Dr Amanda Doyle

Planned changes – which bosses say will modernise care and help manage growing demand – had sparked fears that moving services away from patients could lead to delays transporting blood bank reserves.

But programme director of the Lancashire and South Cumbria pathology partnership Jean Wright said: “Blood transfusion services is an urgent service and as such will remain located on the individual acute hospital sites and therefore not affected by any travel plans.”

The cash, announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt, will be used to set up a single pathology diagnostic service at Lancaster University. It will see NHS trusts, including Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, which runs the Victoria hospital, working together to cover patients across the county.

But urgent services –which require results within four hours – would continue to be based within individual trusts.

Dr Amanda Doyle, Blackpool GP and chief officer for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: “This investment will support us to make faster progress on modernising pathology diagnostic services which will help to improve lives for people across our region.”

Ms Wright said it is not yet known what impact the changes will have on staff at individual trusts.