Trust laboratory is first in the NHS to go fully digital

A laboratory at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has been given an award from Philips for becoming fully digital.

A laboratory at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has been given an award by health technology company, Royal Philips, after investing in state-of-the-art equipment and becoming the first laboratory in the UK to receive this award.

In April 2020 during the first lockdown, the Histopathology department at Peterborough City Hospital took advantage of the slowdown in routine pathology work coming into the laboratory to install new digital pathology equipment. The new equipment means that pathologists can now make cancer diagnoses with even more reliability than before.

Dr David Bailey, Consultant and Clinical Lead for Cellular Pathology, said: “Five years ago, I could never have imagined that I would find digital pathology as useful as glass slide microscopy. Now that we have it, I believe we see things on digital imaging that we don’t necessarily pick up on glass. The process is also more efficient and very much speeds up the patient pathway which subsequently improves their experience as the waiting can add to the stress and upset of an already worrying time.”

The department’s six consultant pathologists and the wider team report on approximately 32,000 specimens each year, including analysing tumours and non-cancerous diseases. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, more cancer meetings are being hosted remotely and from home, and pathologists are able to access the digital system from anywhere that has a secure internet connection.

Dr Bailey said “The new equipment also means that we are able to report more cases in shorter periods of time and can share cases remotely with pathologists in other hospitals to obtain specialist second opinions for complex cases. This can be done much more rapidly with digital imaging, which means that patients wait less time to receive their results.”

Jodie Bridge, Business Marketing & Sales Leader Precision Diagnosis at Philips UKI said “Philips has the largest install base for routine clinical digital pathology use in the UK, Europe and rest of the world. Philips has supported the digitisation of approximately 2.5 million
slides in the UK in 2020. However, North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust stands out globally as a Trust which has fully embraced the technology and made changes in their process to maximise the use of the system. It has been an honour to present them with this award, the first in the UK, and to celebrate their achievement.”

Source: North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust

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