A new service from The Royal College of Pathologists
Responding to unmet demand in the United Kingdom and beyond, The Royal College of Pathologists, through its trading subsidiary, 2 Carlton House Terrace Limited, provides a range of consultancy services as RCPath Consulting (RCPC).
1. Advice on the provision of pathology services
RCPath Consulting provides advice where an authoritative independent view is required on the provision of a high-quality pathology service. Services offered include assistance with the objective measurement of end-to-end quality of the laboratory service and prioritisation of improvement projects. The purpose of RCPath Consulting’s involvement may be to clarify concerns about current and future service quality and efficiency, and to help local managers and pathologists effectively to address and resolve difficulties, as well as signposting existing guidance and methods of quality assurance.
2. Advice on the commissioning or tendering of pathology services
RCPath Consulting provides advice on pathology commissioning and/or tendering in situations where it may be helpful to have an authoritative view that is independent of local providers and others with a vested interest. The purpose of RCPath Consulting’s involvement is to help local commissioners, managers and pathologists to specify effectively an efficient, high-quality service.
3. Advice on reconfiguration of pathology services
Where plans for the provision of pathology services involve reconfiguration across more than one Trust, an authoritative and independent view on the impact of proposed changes on the quality and efficiency of pathology provision may be helpful. The purpose of RCPath Consulting’s involvement is to provide input that is independent of all local providers and will help to ensure the quality of services is maintained or improved for all users, while providing the most cost-effective services.
4. Advice as part of an option appraisal process
RCPath Consulting provides independent input to an option appraisal process when pathology plans are assessed, options considered and prioritised and decisions taken. In these circumstances, where one-off independent input is required, no report will be prepared.
Requests for consultancy services
Requests for RCPath Consulting services may be received from NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts, commissioner groups, Strategic Health Authorities, independent advisors and pathology networks. Requests should be in writing, or via email to Daniel Ross, Chief Executive email@example.com or Dr Rachael Liebmann, College Registrar & RCPath Consulting Lead firstname.lastname@example.org
The individual terms of reference will vary depending on the circumstances of each request and RCPath Consulting will respond individually to requests. However, RCPath Consulting retains the right to refuse requests for its services.
RCPath Consulting’s involvement will take place according to individual terms of reference agreed in advance with the organisation requesting the service. If agreed as part of those terms of reference, RCPath Consulting Pathology Advisors (see below) will produce a report with recommendations. Any report produced will be scrutinised by a further panel within RCPath Consulting prior to being shared with the requestor and will follow quality-assurance processes as described below.
RCPath Consulting Lead and Advisor Panel
In order to provide the consultancy services outlined above, an Honorary Officer of The Royal College of Pathologists has been appointed to be the RCPath Consulting Lead, and a panel of preferred Pathology Advisors has been established. RCPath Consulting will only recommend Advisors who are senior Fellows of the College and who have considerable experience of the issues involved in management in pathology and who have been successful in the appointments process (see below for person specifications).
Following agreement on the specific requirements of the requestor, RCPath Consulting can advise on whether input from an individual or a team may be appropriate in a particular case and provide a Pathology Advisor from the centrally-held list. Unless otherwise requested or agreed, Advisors will be recommended who do not work in the same geographical region as the requestor.
The requesting body will then contract with RCPath Consulting and agree to pay for the review. Payment will involve a fee to RCPath Consulting (fee structure available on request), which will include the fee payable to the individual Pathology Advisors or their employing Trusts.
Appointments to the RCPath Consulting Advisor Panel will be ratified by College Council. Pathology Advisors will be required to complete a declaration of interests, which will be shared with the requestor.
Improving standards in pathology
The efficient use of resources is an integral part of any assessment of laboratory quality, and our approach is to optimise the quality of the service for the benefit of the patient, not for the benefit of employers or employees.
Pathology Advisors may use, taking care not to identify requestors, the experience gained to inform standards in pathology services more widely; for example, by running workshops for pathology commissioners, managers, scientists and members of the College to share good practice and learning. Alternatively, ‘lessons learnt’ articles may be written for the College Bulletin.
At all times, RCPath Consulting and its Pathology Advisors will respect the confidentiality and commercial sensitivity of the requestors and information gained during consultancy work.
RCPath Consulting Advisor person specification
RCPath Consulting IBMS Advisor person specification
Quality assurance policy for RCPath Consulting