Pathology services at the Princess Royal University Hospital will be partially privatised and some will start to move to Kings College Hospital in Denmark Hill in the next two years, according to documents given to staff.

The service will be run by Viapath, the ownership of which is split between Serco and the NHS. Kings College NHS Trust, who run the PRUH, own 33 per cent of Viapath.

Pathology is the ‘study of disease’ and is involved in 70 per cent of all diagnoses made in the NHS, according to the Royal Society of Pathologists.

"Non-urgent" pathology testing will be transferred from the PRUH to Denmark Hill.

News Shopper understands PRUH staff were given a question and answer booklet, following meetings between concerned members of staff and Viapath.

Staff asked the question: "How many PRUH staff will be made redundant?"

The response they were given in the paperwork was: "We don’t know exactly which services will transfer or when.

“We will need to recruit more staff at all our London sites so there will be a large number of opportunities for staff who want to work for Viapath.”

Staff also asked: "Will this go ahead despite the misgivings of clinicians and staff at PRUH?" When asked whether they have considered keeping services at the PRUH, Viapath wrote: “It is hard to see this making sense within Viapath’s Service Model strategy.”

All virus and bacteria studies and immunology testing will also be moved to the Denmark Hill site.

There are no anticipated changes to administration staff until 2018, but Viapath plan to “reduce the amount of manual processing that is required” and wrote it “might mean we would require less staff to work in this area.”


A spokeswoman for King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “The running of pathology laboratories at the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) will transfer to Viapath this summer, under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations.

“Additionally we have taken steps to ensure staff can continue to access their NHS pension, plus other existing benefits.

“Viapath is a major provider of pathology services, and is majority owned by the NHS - King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (which runs the PRUH), and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust each own a 33 per cent share of the business.

“We are confident that moving the pathology service to Viapath will improve the quality of the services delivered to patients at the PRUH.

“Viapath is committed to quality and their first priority is to ensure that they provide a robust, safe and reliable service for patients, while also looking for opportunities to improve efficiency. Over the next two years the strategy is to modernise the pathology service and improve quality by centralising services where appropriate.

“This will take place through a phased implementation plan, which will be monitored by affected stakeholders including King’s College Hospital and Bromley CCG.”

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