Managed equipment service (MES)

The objective of the MES project is to complete the project in accordance with its approved business case. This will help enable the KMPN to achieve its strategic objectives and associated benefits. The MES project will support the transformation of pathology services in Kent and Medway by providing the same or very similar equipment and systems, from the same suppliers, at each of the seven laboratory sites. This will benefit both patients and staff.

Staff working across the three pathology services in Kent and Medway use a variety of systems and equipment from several different suppliers. Once the MES project has been fully completed, staff within a single pathology speciality will be using the same or very similar equipment from the same supplier. This will enable pathology services to harmonise much of their quality systems and work even closer together than they do now. Staff will receive the same training and this may open opportunities for them to work at other Kent and Medway laboratory sites in future, either flexibility or permanently.

Because the three pathology services in Kent and Medway use a variety of systems and equipment from several different suppliers, results for the same test undertaken at different laboratories in the KMPN may vary. This does not mean that one or more are wrong, it just means that the equipment works slightly differently, so interpreting the results accurately will require knowledge of the equipment’s ‘reference range’ to understand what is a normal result and what is abnormal. This can sometimes make it more difficult for clinicians that work across sites from different Trusts or use results from other Trusts in the network. By standardising on suppliers and equipment across all laboratories within the same pathology speciality (e.g. microbiology, haematology etc), clinicians will more easily be able to interpret results confidently, irrespective of where it was generated. Patients will also benefit from the knowledge that the pathology service across Kent and Medway is entirely equitable as the same high-quality service will be available from all of the Trusts.

The MES project is a large undertaking impacting all NHS pathology laboratories in Kent and Medway and it will take some years to complete. The estimated (and as yet unapproved) dates for the key project milestones are as follows:

  • Procurement complete: August 2024. This enables us to complete the business case and obtain its approval from all of the Trust Boards before its sent to NHS England for final review and approval.
  • Full business case approved by NHS England: March 2025. The enables us to finalise the contract with the supplier.
  • Contracts signed: April 2025. This enables work to begin immediately on planning the implementation phase of the project at each laboratory site.
  • Implementation starts at first laboratory: July 2025. Implementation is expected to last three to five months at each site.
  • Implementation completed at last laboratory: October 2028.

The implementation approach is yet to be agreed. The planning assumption is that implementation will be on a site by site basis but this may not ultimately be the case. It will not be possible to establish the exact approach and timescales for implementation until around six months after all procurement has been completed, i.e. around February 2025.

If you wish to know more about the KMPN MES project, please contact Chris Stiff, MES Project Director at

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