Delivering successful outsourced procurement for South East London Pathology Programme

South East London Pathology Programme Procurement


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The SEL Pathology Programme had the task to produce a service specification for the largest outsourced pathology service in the UK. It was of paramount importance to the Trusts and CCGs that the new service contract was future proofed and reflected the needs of patients and users of the service. This would require extensive clinical engagement to determine how services are currently delivered but more importantly how clinical services were likely to change in the future and so how requirements from pathology would change. In addition to changes in clinical practice, changes in policy (NHSI Network Recommendations) were an important consideration as the new service had to ensure compliance with guidance and policy.

It is essential before any procurements are started to spend enough time in planning what the future requirements are likely to be and have a very clear idea on what the target operating model is likely to look at from a configuration and outputs perspective. Our approach is to ensure that our clients spend the right amount of time before any formal process is started developing the required level of detail in the specification. In the SEL Pathology Programme we did this through an extensive clinical user engagement programme that focused on understanding the clinical needs of the clinical services and working with the clinical leads to develop a forecast of requirements from pathology. This was then combined with the inputs from pathology specialists to ensure that the needs from pathology by clinical users were correctly translated into a pathology service output specification.


Our approach ensured that a detailed set of requirements and outputs were developed to enable the Trusts to start the tender process. This specification has enabled the Trusts to run a successful procurement that has resulted in a preferred strategic partner and potential savings to be realised while the pathology service is future proofed.

“The Lifecycle team has an unparalleled knowledge of diagnostics and has been able to guide the team through the development of our procurement strategy and clinical specification development for a future-proof service.””

David Lawson

South East London Pathology Programme Procurement