Four pathology networks in the West Midlands have deployed a new picture archiving and communication system (PACS) to tackle cancer backlogs and improve the speed and accuracy of cancer diagnosis. 

Delivered in conjunction with Sectra, the programme will equip the region’s pathologists with the necessary digital tools to support better collaboration, the sharing of expertise and capacity, and managing the growing demand for services, including prioritising urgent cases. 

A PACS from Sectra is now live across pathology networks in the West Midlands and will allow healthcare professionals to access, view and analyse diagnostic images using a number of digital tools. It also supports real-time collaboration with colleagues, as it can be accessed from any location. 

For healthcare professionals it will lead to improved workflow, while patients will benefit from better outcomes and experiences.  

The four pathology networks and their associated trusts who have deployed the new PACS are: 

  • Black Country Pathology Service: The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Wolverhampton Trust, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. 
  • Birmingham and Solihull: Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. 
  • South Midlands Pathology: University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, Wye Valley NHS Trust, and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. 
  • North Midlands, South Cheshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin: University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and East Cheshire NHS Trust. 

Professor Neil Anderson, NHS Midlands regional pathology clinical lead, said: “This technology speeds up the process and reporting through the Pathology Departments, but also allows teams to work between hospitals enabling them to report on images from anywhere in the region which will support faster, better cancer diagnosis.  

“Working on the same platform from Sectra, we will be able to more easily share second opinions, without the need to package and transport slides across different laboratories, which can cause substantial delay. And our new digital platform will help us to explore AI to rapidly triage patients.” 

In June, Sectra worked with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to digitise their pathology services.