Pathology

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 27th May 2022.

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Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the capacity of pathologists to tackle the backlog in elective care related to the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support pathologists in their work to clear the backlog in elective care.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

As of January 2022, there are 2,854 full time equivalent consultants working in the specialty group of pathology in National Health Service trusts and clinical commissioning groups in England. This is an increase of 1.6% since January 2021 and 21.7% since January 2010.

At the Spending Review, the Department announced £2.3 billion to increase the volume of diagnostic activity and to establish up to 160 community diagnostic centres (CDCs) by March 2025. The NHS and Health Education England (HEE) are developing a plan to ensure sufficient workforce capacity for CDCs and the appropriate roles. NHS England and NHS Improvement aim to increase capacity by improving workforce productivity through digital diagnostic investment. This is projected to deliver an approximate 10% increase in productivity and accelerate testing and the sharing of results via digital patient health records. All reporting clinicians in pathology and imaging services will have access to the latest technology for primary diagnosis. This will reduce delays in diagnostic pathways and enable rapid access to a specialist opinion.

All NHS staff, including pathologists, have access to mental health hubs, access to free self-help apps, as well as training, coaching and guidance for teams and leaders.

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