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Bevan Exemplar Cohort 8 Projects

Navigating Cellular Pathology diagnostic pathways to consistently deliver a 7 day turnaround time for patients

Fiona Thomas

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

The cellular pathology department is unable to meet the required 7 day turn-around times (TAT’s) for the diagnostic pathway of patients with Urgent Suspected Cancers. In recent years, the department has witnessed a growth in activity that they have not had the capacity to address. This has led to an increase in backlogs, unacceptable turn- around times, delays in diagnosing cancer and negatively impacted on the quality of patient care. The effectiveness of treatment is likely to have been significantly compromised. There are obvious interventions that can improve the position in the short term such as waiting list initiatives, improved pay rates for overtime and outsourcing. This approach comes at a financial cost and at a cost to the well-being of the workforce. The position is not sustainable. In the medium to long term, there are regional and national approaches to working along with the implementation of a digital approach to pathology diagnostics that will again reduce the burden. This comes however with a significant lead in time and financial commitment to workforce and infrastructure before it will bring the improved performance of cellular pathology diagnostic pathways across the NHS in Wales. The team are looking to find innovative local solutions to improve performance and increase compliance with the 7 day TAT to improve the optimal clinical pathway, quality and experience for the population of Cwm Taf Morgannwg.