Protests as specialist pathology lab faces closure

CAMPAIGNING: Members of the Dorset Health Campaign lobbying the Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee about plans to transfer path lab services from DCH

CAMPAIGNING: Members of the Dorset Health Campaign lobbying the Dorset Health Scrutiny Committee about plans to transfer path lab services from DCH

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

CAMPAIGNERS fighting for the future of Dorset County Hospital’s pathology services have highlighted comments from an expert claiming it could deliver a ‘flagship cancer service’.

The Dorset Health Campaign has been fighting for the pathology services to be retained at the Dorchester hospital as bosses look at options for the future of the service.

Members from the group celebrated the ‘path lab’ being part of the NHS for the last 66 years at an event in Dorchester town centre on Saturday, and told how they wanted to see it kept in public ownership.

They handed out birthday cakes and encouraged shoppers to put their names to a protest petition.

The threat to the laboratory comes as it has been developing as a centre of excellence for tissue analysis in the development of target drugs for cancer patients, including malignant melanoma and colorectal cancer, in recent years.

Scheme director for the UK National Equality Assessment Scheme for Immunocytochem-istry and In-Situ Hybridisation (UKNEQAS-ICC&ISH) Keith Miller was invited to the hospital’s histopathology team by senior consultant Dr Corrado D’Arrigo some years ago.

He said: “When I visited the department, I found a well co-ordinated team of pathologists working to very high standards and willing to improve the service further by developing new tests and bringing in new technology.

“I was so impressed by their enthusiasm and dedication that I decided to help them find sponsors and help facilitated this venture.

“I managed to get an agreement with the Dorset County Hospital administration and set-up a testing centre within the department of histopathology.”

Mr Miller said that a sponsor was already in place, Roche Tissue Diagnostics, and there were plans to bring in more diagnostic and pharmaceutical partners in due course.

He added: “The technology that is available to us through this arrangement is already, as mentioned, having a significant and positive impact to patient care. But there is so much more to come, much more.

“Prostate cancer testing at the Dorchester laboratory is among the best in the UK and lung and gastric cancers are already next on the list for further study.

“Much of this cannot of course be achieved without the support and hard work of all the staff of the histopathology department as well as the surgical and oncological teams at DCH. “I hope that the commissioner of cancer services in the region will take an interest in the leading edge work that is carried out at DCH because I believe that they have a unique opportunity to commission a flagship cancer service for the region that will be one of the best in the NHS.”

A DCH spokesman said: “Mr Miller is connected with Roche and has a commercial interest.

“He is not privy to all the information concerning the pathology department.

“This is just his opinion and he doesn’t speak on behalf of Dorset County Hospital or the pathology department.”

Comments (4)

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3:56pm Mon 7 Jul 14

JACKC says...

Any protests won't make a difference. It seems to me that when the public get hold of information, the decision has already been made. They only want the cheapest way for everything, quality doesn't come into it. Mr Miller's comments may well be his opinion, but he is entitled to it, regardless of any interests he may have. If he is incorrect - then give us, the public the information we should have to make an informed opinion!
Any protests won't make a difference. It seems to me that when the public get hold of information, the decision has already been made. They only want the cheapest way for everything, quality doesn't come into it. Mr Miller's comments may well be his opinion, but he is entitled to it, regardless of any interests he may have. If he is incorrect - then give us, the public the information we should have to make an informed opinion! JACKC
  • Score: 1

11:56am Tue 8 Jul 14

Jeffrie says...

Contrary to the comment from the DCH spokesman above, Mr Miller has NO financial connections with Roche and has NO commercial interest. He is Scheme Director for the UK National External Quality Assessment Scheme for Immunocytochemistry and In-Situ Hybridisation (UKNEQAS-ICC&ISH), which is a not-for-profit organisation.
Contrary to the comment from the DCH spokesman above, Mr Miller has NO financial connections with Roche and has NO commercial interest. He is Scheme Director for the UK National External Quality Assessment Scheme for Immunocytochemistry and In-Situ Hybridisation (UKNEQAS-ICC&ISH), which is a not-for-profit organisation. Jeffrie
  • Score: 0

5:56am Wed 9 Jul 14

weymouthfox says...

So why is DCH management continually covering up this issue over giving pathology to a private firm to run? Who has something to hide?
So why is DCH management continually covering up this issue over giving pathology to a private firm to run? Who has something to hide? weymouthfox
  • Score: 2

11:26am Thu 10 Jul 14

TURNER# says...

Unfortunately DCH "spokesperson" doesn't seem to have all the facts !!
The Pathology services are of a high standard and have such a hardworking team. Shame that they are not given the credit they deserve as they are committed to offering a good service. Seems to be the upper levels who want to wreck the services and unfortunately the public are not aware.
Developing services would be the way to go, not destroying what was and could be beneficial to our area.
Unfortunately DCH "spokesperson" doesn't seem to have all the facts !! The Pathology services are of a high standard and have such a hardworking team. Shame that they are not given the credit they deserve as they are committed to offering a good service. Seems to be the upper levels who want to wreck the services and unfortunately the public are not aware. Developing services would be the way to go, not destroying what was and could be beneficial to our area. TURNER#
  • Score: 2

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