The Christie launches joint venture with synlab UK to provide pathology services


The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has entered into a partnership with synlab UK Limited, the UK division of one of the largest European independent providers of pathology services, to provide pathology services at the specialist cancer centre.

The Christie Pathology Partnership will allow the Trust to further develop its pathology service. 

The current pathology service at The Christie provides a diagnostic and monitoring service for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

The partnership with synlab, which manages a comprehensive range of laboratories in 24 countries, will improve turnaround times for patients whilst maintaining delivery of high quality results. 

It also aims to deliver financial benefits to the Trust through significantly improved procurement terms, efficiency gains through improved processes and growth in third party activity through increased provision of specialist oncology pathology services.

The new partnership begins on June 1st, when staff, equipment and facilities of The Christie’s pathology laboratories will transfer to the joint venture.

The Christie Pathology Partnership aims to draw on the European expertise of synlab combined with the established cancer expertise at The Christie, to become the leading specialist oncology pathology provider in the UK. With the increasing personalisation of cancer treatment through advanced diagnostic techniques, synlab’s expertise will support the clinical excellence at The Christie.  

Roger Spencer, interim CEO at The Christie, said: “The Christie Pathology Partnership reflects our vision to be a world-leading comprehensive cancer centre using the very latest technologies, working methods and diagnostic techniques to support improved patient outcomes. 

Developing working partnerships with other leading organisations such as synlab will enable us to establish The Christie Pathology Partnership as a centre of excellence, whilst supporting our vision to continue to develop breakthroughs and innovations in cancer care.”

Hugh Risebrow, MD of synlab UK, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been selected to be The Christie’s pathology Joint Venture Partner. We believe that The Christie brand and reputation combined with synlab’s operational excellence will create a pathology partnership that will support The Christie’s sustainable development, maintain its independence and assist in The Christie being internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading comprehensive cancer centres that will deliver high quality and increasingly sophisticated diagnostic techniques to help patients receive the best possible cancer treatments.”

All on-site pathology services will remain at The Christie using current staff and expertise. Clinical staff working in the laboratories at The Christie will transfer into the partnership and all pathology consultants will remain employees of the Trust.

Benefits to pathology staff include access to the synlab Academy programme of continued medical training and opportunities to take part in secondments or work rotations within other laboratories across Europe. 


Pictures attached: Contract between The Christie and synlab UK signed on April 16th at The Christie.


About The Christie

  • The Christie opened in 1901 and is now one of Europe’s leading cancer centres and the largest single-site centre in Europe
  • Because of its specialist nature, 26% patients are referred to The Christie from outside the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area
  • It has one of the largest radiotherapy departments in the world as well as centres in Oldham and Salford.  It also houses the UK’s largest brachytherapy service
  • The Christie delivers chemotherapy treatment through the largest chemotherapy unit in the UK, as well as via 10 other sites, its new mobile chemotherapy unit and in patients’ homes
  • The Christie is home to the largest single site early phase clinical trials unit in the world, with more than 400 trials taking place at any one time  
  • In addition to NHS funding, The Christie receives a significant amount of money every year through its charity, the second largest hospital charity in the country
  • New developments include:
        -   an integrated £12 million young oncology unit and haematology and transplant unit, opening this spring
        -   a new £28.5 million Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) opening this year.  The MCRC is a partnership between The Christie, The University of Manchester and Cancer Research UK
         -   the UK’s first proton beam therapy service, due to start treating patients in 2018.  The Christie was selected to deliver this specialist treatment, along with University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.  Currently patients have to travel to America for this treatment

  • The Christie is one of seven partners in the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, one of only six health science centres in the country
  • The Christie’s School of Oncology provides undergraduate education, clinical professional and medical education - the first of its kind in the UK
  • Hear from Christie staff, patients, volunteers and fundraisers via the weekly Christie blog – 


  • synlab is one of the largest independent European pathology services groups with a turnover of €670m in 2013.
  • synlab operates within 24 countries in N/E Europe and Middle East
  • synlab has experienced rapid growth – organic and acquisition – since 2001
  • Owned by management and BC Partners
  • > 350 million tests in 2013
  • >5000 test parameters offered
  • c 7,000 employees (c5500 WTEs) including >300 medically qualified
  • Comprehensive range of pathology services:
       -   Volume hub labs
       -   Hot labs
       -   Specialist labs

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