Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the largest hospital trust in the UK, with an international reputation for cancer care. It is a world leader in the treatment of liver and kidney disease, and is also one of the biggest centres for cardiothoracic care in Europe. The trust's Pathology service not only processes samples from its own four hospitals in Leeds (St James's University Teaching Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary, Wharfedale General Hospital and Cookridge Hospital), but also encompasses the laboratory at Bradford Royal Infirmary. Approximately 24,000 individual tests are performed daily by the trust's five laboratories, which currently handle around 1.5 million patient samples per year. Workload is increasing rapidly at an annual rate of 6% - 10%.
The flexibility of the solution put forward by Bayer was a key factor behind the company's success in the tendering process. Given that the trust's operational requirements would be constantly evolving, the solution proposed had to be flexible enough to accommodate future changes in working practices whilst meeting increasing workload needs.
Bayer's Flexible Approach and Track Record Were Key Considerations
"This looks set to be a productive and strategic partnership with Bayer", says Dr Rick Jones, Consultant Chemical Pathologist for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. "We are looking forward to developing our relationship with the company, putting in the new technology and evaluating its functionality in a large scale development such as ours. Because the solution is so flexible, we see this as much more than just the purchase of equipment - it's a whole new way of working. One of the attractions of working with Bayer is their flexible approach."
"We were looking to develop a joint approach with our chosen supplier", adds Steve Goodall, Consultant Clinical Biochemist and Laboratory Manager at Leeds General Infirmary, who co-ordinated the whole procurement process. "The Bayer solution was best suited to our requirements, and our long track record with the company was also a key consideration. This is a very big contract, and so we also had to be confident that Bayer will be around to support us in the long term. Our decision was therefore based on past, present and future considerations. All eyes will definitely be on Leeds in the months ahead."
The benefits of the solution now being implemented by Bayer are many-fold. The new Chemistry and Immunoassay analysers will enhance efficiency by replacing ageing equipment, while use of the same analysers, methodologies and reference ranges across all sites will assist workload management through standardisation. Automation of sample handling processes will relieve pressure on staff, and commonality of IT will enable standardisation of results reporting and working practices. Pathology staff will deal direct with Bayer as a single supplier for all their reagents and consumables, thus simplifying administration and ordering.
Efficient Work Handling and Robust Audit Trail for Sample Tracking
"Because of the size of our operation, we have been able to centralise many of the services which we provide across Leeds and Bradford", says MLSO 4 Bryan Hill, who is project managing introduction of the new analysers and is responsible for laboratory automation. "Bayer's solution will enable us to handle work much more efficiently than we do at present, redirecting it between the hospital sites as necessary. It will also provide us with a much more robust audit trail for sample tracking."
Installation of the analysers has recently taken place. A training laboratory has already been established at Wharfedale General Hospital where laboratory staff will receive hands-on instrument training from Bayer personnel.