Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services has confirmed it will extend CliniSys’ WinPath Enterprise laboratory system to Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

The expansion will make Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services one of the largest pathology networks in the country as it now serves five trusts and six acute hospitals.

Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services operates a hub and spoke model, in which some laboratories focus on tests for GPs and others run tests to support the day-to-day acute work for the hospitals in which they are based or provide specialist testing services.

The CliniSys LIMS ensures that all the laboratories use the same, standardised procedures for testing, so staff can move easily between sites in response to demand, which was essential during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the network was asked to set up new testing services for its trusts to provide centralised Covid-19 testing for the network.

Surrey and Sussex’s pathology services are being brought into the hub and spoke model in three phases. The first phase, which saw microbiology, virology and immunology services integrate into BSPS, is now complete and the remaining two phases should be concluded by the end of this year.

Additionally, the network will roll-out a standardised version of the CliniSys Integrated Clinical Environment (ICE) for its GPs, which will enable clinicians to order tests and view results from anywhere within the network.

When the expansion is complete later this year, the network will employ around 1,450 people and conduct around 46 million tests per year for its hospitals, local GPs and other services.

Nicola Newman, managing director at Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services, said: “There are pre-existing patient flows between SASH and some of the other network sites, particularly for cancer services. Along with the ICS boundary changes across Surrey Heartlands, it made absolute sense for SASH to join the BSPS network.

“We’re excited to have them on board and to be able to demonstrate the benefits of the network model for pathology, which is being rolled-out across the country, to make testing services more efficient and fit for the future.”

Next year, the network will move to the latest version of WinPath Enterprise, hosted in the cloud, to enable even more flexibility and to make it easier to deploy AI and other cutting-edge technologies.

The deployment of WinPath Enterprise at Surrey and Sussex is not the first time CliniSys have rolled-out their system. Last year they were awarded a contract to deploy WinPath across Northern Ireland and they also signed a deal with Scarborough Hull York Pathology Service to implement the system.

Richard Craven, CEO at CliniSys, said: “BSPS [Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services] is proving the case for the development of pathology networks that was made by Lord Carter in 2016. In his landmark report, Lord Carter argued that pathology services should consolidate to create the scale necessary for standardisation and investment.

“We have seen BSPS deliver impressive levels of efficiency savings while improving services for clinicians and patients, by investing in state-of-the-art technology. It has been a privilege to be part of the network’s development, and to be supporting its extension to SASH. We look forward to continuing to contribute to whatever it does next.”