TWO hospital trusts are in talks about creating a new regional hub to improve its department that deals with the study and diagnosis of disease.
A new centre for pathology could be established at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs pathology services from its hospitals at Hartlepool and Stockton, is exploring the proposal.
Health chiefs say the talks are part of plans to give patients a better service and services still will be provided locally from ‘spoke’ units.
A spokesman for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re talking about the possibility of creating a joint pathology service to cover North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the GPs in the areas we serve.
“The teams from our trusts are working together to look at developing a single pathology service hub and spoke model, with the hub based at The James Cook University Hospital and pathology services still being provided from the trust, to provide an improved pathology service for our patients.”
Pathology relates to the study of diseases and laboratory examination of samples for diagnosis or for forensic purposes.
Services for local patients are currently centred around the University Hospital of Hartlepool in Holdforth Road, and the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton.
Hartlepool provides services including blood tests and transfusion and clinical biochemistry.
The site at Stockton also provides round the clock services to respond to medical admissions, accidents and urgent surgery.
Both sites also provide mortuary and autopsy facilities.
Much of the North Tees and Hartlepool trust’s pathology work covers health issues such as diabetic monitoring, cancer diagnosis, and assessment of heart disease.
Recent pathology developments within the trust include acquiring a major biochemistry equipment refit and upgraded blood analysers.