In 2023 all four Trusts that make up the Kent and Medway Pathology Network (KMPN) approved a Collaboration Agreement (CA), meaning the network can become a single service alongside the existing joint programmes of work.

KMPN is on a journey to becoming a thriving network. This will include moving to a single management structure in the next year. The ambition is that the single service will be stronger than the sum of its parts - allowing KMPN providers to meet future demands in pathology safely and effectively. The single service will build on the enabling programmes begun over the previous few years; the single LIMS and Managed Equipment Service. 

KMPN has proceeded to make two successful appointments in 2023 into the roles of clinical director (CD), Dr Supriya Joshi and managing director (MD), Ms Francesca Trundle. As executive leads, they will take the next steps to network maturity, with changes needed over the coming years. The Collaboration Agreement (CA) is a document prepared on behalf of the members of KMPN and sets out the basis for this approach, giving the CD and MD authority to take up single management responsibility for KMPN and make recommendations to the Network Board. 

KMPN is a jointly owned programme with all Kent and Medway pathology providers represented as members of the Network Board. Whilst pathology is provided at acute Trust level, the majority users of the service, for blood sciences at least, are outside the acute sector and sit in primary and community care. 

The pathology network and programme are supported and partially funded (on a non-recurrent basis) by NHS England and Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board (ICB). KMPN is one of over 20 similar networks across England who are all are seeking to future proof pathology services in the face of rising demand and increasingly scarce resources.

Network maturity matrix

Network maturity matrix tools were published in November 2021 for pathology networks. The tools identify seven domains that characterise a pathology network, and in turn they also describe five phases of maturity, from pre-emergent to thriving.

Benefits to patients and provider will be realised through transformative new ways of working, as pathology networks progress through maturity.

The tools provide a consistent framework to objectively assess network maturity. As a network develop through implementation, a description of indicative deliverables is offered in each matrix for the domain. 

As such the matrix will:

  • provide networks a benchmarking and self-assessment tool to assess their current position
  • highlight key areas and topics for consideration at each stage of network development
  • support decision making within the network.
An image showing the five stages of network maturity. Pre-emerging, emerging, developing, maturing and thriving. KMPN are at the developing stage, with an aim to reach maturing by 2024/25

The image above shows the five stages of Pathology Network Maturity. The KMPN are in the developing stage, which is described as 'joint-working across network with implementation of network-level plan underway.

By 2024/25 KMPN plan to be in the Maturing stage, which is described as 'fully established and implemented plans at network level, and where applicable realisation of benefits and further innovation and improvement underway.