GIRFT appoints leads for pathology review

Simon Knowles, Tom Lewis, Marion Wood and Martin Myers to head up workstream

Simon Knowles, Tom Lewis and Marion Wood have been appointed as joint clinical leads for the GIRFT review of pathology, alongside senior clinical advisor Martin Myers. The top clinicians have been appointed with the endorsement of the Royal College of Pathologists and have decades of experience across the specialisms within pathology.

The appointment of three clinical leads reflects the diversity of laboratory medicine, which has differentiated into distinct specialisms with different areas of knowledge, opportunities and challenges. The three clinical leads bring specific expertise in histopathology, microbiology and haematology as well as broad experience of leading multidisciplinary laboratories.

Professor Jo Martin, President of the Royal College of Pathologists, said:

“The GIRFT programme is all about improving the quality of patient care and I am delighted by the appointment of such experienced pathologists.

“The appointments have been endorsed by the College and, between them, these pathologists represent a diverse range of specialties – histopathology, microbiology, clinical biochemistry and haematology. These colleagues have in-depth knowledge of leading multi-disciplinary laboratories and their clinical expertise will be invaluable in directing this work.  We are meeting the leads to help prioritise areas and will support them by publicising their work and gathering member suggestions about great practice and potential spread of best practice.”

Simon Knowles, past-President of the Association of Clinical Pathologists, has over 40 years of experience as a cellular pathologist. Setting out his ambition for the workstream, he said: “GIRFT is an unparalleled opportunity to improve clinical outcomes by harnessing clinical goodwill to tackle unwarranted variation.”

Tom Lewis is a consultant medical microbiologist who has led award-winning work using data to improve services. Responding to his appointment, he said: “The GIRFT pathology workstream will be an opportunity to move beyond the already well-established quality assurance metrics, and look at how we relate more directly to clinical outcomes and patient experience.”

Marion Wood is a consultant clinical and laboratory haematologist, influential in the development of services in the East of England including as Medical Director for blood sciences at the Pathology Partnership. She added: “Pathology is a specialty that has already been subject to more reform than most. As GIRFT Clinical Leads, we are committed to quality of care for patients, not wedded to any one particular model.”

Simon, Tom and Marion will be joined by Martin Myers, a consultant clinical biochemist at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Martin is also Lead Scientist and Associate Divisional Medical Director for Pathology at the Trust, having been Clinical Director for 14 years prior. Martin has taken a leading role in continuous service re-design, with particular interest in use of automation, point of care testing and informatics in improving the quality of the diagnostic process.

He said: “Patient pathways are changing and technology is advancing; it is critical that pathology and other diagnostics respond to these changes to improve service delivery using a variety of models.”

The Clinical Leads and Senior Clinical Advisor will lead a deep dive review of pathology services in England using the GIRFT methodology, which is designed to identify and address unwarranted variations to help improve clinical quality and efficiency. Using reports based on trusts’ own data, the Leads will visit laboratories and services across England to discuss the research with pathologists, service and trust managers. As with all GIRFT work streams the review will culminate in a national report that will highlight existing good practice and include recommendations for improving the service. GIRFT will then support providers to deliver those recommendations throughout an implementation phase that follows publication of the national report.

Joint Clinical Lead: Simon Knowles

Joint Clinical Lead: Tom Lewis

Joint Clinical Lead: Marion Wood

Clinical Advisor: Dr Martin Myers MBE, PhD, FRCPath

Click here for Clinical Leads’ biographies and further details on the workstream >

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