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Minister welcomes launch of the Northern Ireland Pathology Network

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey today welcomed the launch of the health service’s newest clinical network, the Northern Ireland Pathology Network.

The network, which draws together clinical and managerial experts in the field of pathology from throughout Northern Ireland, aims to provide consistency and direction in delivering and developing clinical pathology services in Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland the clinical pathology services employ around 1,000 staff and deal with over 10 million requests for pathology tests each year.

The Minister said: “The importance of clinical pathology services cannot be overemphasized. It is a specialty which very often goes unnoticed by patients and yet it underpins the whole health service. Around three quarters of all diagnoses depend on the results of pathology tests.

“The new network represents a partnership of professional staff, service commissioners and users. It allows the people who provide and use the service to take an active part in how services will develop and ensure that our laboratory services provide a high quality, effective and locally-responsive service across all areas of Northern Ireland. I commend all those who have worked hard over the past year to establish this new network and wish the new Chair, the network board and team every success.

The formation of a Pathology Network was a key recommendation in the Department’s policy for the future of pathology services in Northern Ireland. The new network will draw its membership from HSC Trusts, the HSC Board and the Patient and Client Council. A core team will be supported by a number of specialist network teams and sub groups.

The network was formally launched today by Dr Michael McBride, Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, at the Lagan Valley Island Conference Centre. The network launch included presentations by a number of consultant pathologists. The event featured the first ever meeting of the NI Pathology Network Board and the formal selection of the specialty team chairs.

Notes to Editors:

1. Pathology is the branch of medicine concerned with identifying the cause, origin and nature of disease. In Northern Ireland the clinical pathology services employ around 1,000 staff and deal with over 10 million requests for pathology tests each year.

2. Managed Clinical Networks support groups of health professionals and service users to work together in a coordinated way, ensuring good communication and sharing good practice. Their key aim is to improve the health and wellbeing for the patients of Northern Ireland by ensuring the coordinated strategic development of services, ensuring equity of access and a uniform quality of services for the population of Northern Ireland, involving service users in service planning and promoting the delivery of continuous improvement of high quality, safe and effective services.

3. The Northern Ireland Pathology Network will comprise a Network Board with membership from the five HSC Trusts, the HSC Board and the Patient and Client Council; a Core Network Team and Specialist Network Teams for the various pathology specialties including Clinical Biochemistry, Haematology & Blood Transfusion, Cellular Pathology and Microbiology & Virology.

4. Press enquiries to DHSSPS press office on 028 9052 0579. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.