Westminster Health Forum

Next steps for diagnostics and pathology - innovation, collaboration and standards

Morning, Thursday, 2nd April 2020

Central London


This seminar will consider the next steps for diagnostics and pathology in England - looking at supporting innovation, rolling out networks and developing standards.

It follows the commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to roll out pathology networks across England by 2021 and diagnostic imaging networks by 2023, and will provide a timely opportunity to discuss the use of technology, artificial intelligence and genomics to improve the diagnosis of disease.

Data, Artificial Intelligence and Genomics

The seminar provides an opportunity to consider the progress of the Artificial Intelligence and Data Grand Challenge Mission, which aims to use data and AI to improve the diagnosis of chronic diseases by 2030, following the recent announcement of £250m investment in artificial intelligence and the development of a National Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Delegates will consider what support can be provided to innovators through the regulatory and approval process, as well as any barriers to uptake, ensuring data protection and maintaining public trust.

The agenda includes discussion on the role of genomics in diagnosis, in light of the government’s ambition to sequence 5m genomes by 2023-24.

Attendees will consider the priorities for scaling up to meet these ambitions, with discussion on developing skills in the workforce and managing patient data, as well as the opportunities for using genomics to develop personalised treatments.

Accelerating the Diagnostic Process

Further sessions will consider how to accelerate the diagnostic process, in light of the Accelerating Detection of Disease programme which announced £79m of government investment for research into the early diagnosis of diseases including cancer, dementia and heart disease, as well as goals to recruit up to 5m healthy participants in research.

Attendees will assess the next steps for achieving the aims, looking at the development of diagnostic standards, supporting patient and public involvement in research, and upgrading imaging and pathology infrastructure following the announcement of £200m of government funding to replace MRI machines, CT scanners and screening equipment.

We expect further discussion on improving diagnostic times for cancer as Rapid Diagnostic Centres are rolled out across England and with a new faster diagnostic standard to be introduced from 2020, and the agenda includes sessions on the opportunities for learning from the Rapid Diagnostic Centre pilots.

Following the commitment in the Long Term Plan to roll out diagnostic imaging and pathology networks, attendees will consider the opportunities and challenges for developing networks.

There will be discussion on supporting integration across traditional boundaries, making best use of shared resources and overcoming workforce challenges including recruitment, development and retention.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Jo Martin

President, Royal College of Pathologists; Professor of Pathology, Queen Mary University of London and Director, Academic Health Sciences, Barts Health NHS Trust

Keynote Speakers

Professor Jo Martin

President, Royal College of Pathologists; Professor of Pathology, Queen Mary University of London and Director, Academic Health Sciences, Barts Health NHS Trust

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield

Chief Scientist, Genomics England


Peter Dowd MP

Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Health Group and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury


Dr Darren Treanor

Consultant Pathologist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; Director, Northern Pathology Imaging Co-operative and Digital Pathology Lead, Royal College of Pathologists

Dr Steven Powell

Chief Diagnostic Officer, Rutherford Diagnostics

Dr Saoirse Dolly

Consultant, Rapid Access Diagnostic Clinic, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Carl Heneghan

Professor, Evidence-Based Medicine and Director, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford

Dr Michael Messenger

Head, Personalised Medicine and Health, Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine and Health, University of Leeds and Deputy Director, NIHR Leeds In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operative