The Halo building doesn’t just represent the culmination of years of planning, research, investment and deal-making. It’s a start. A new dawn for pathology whereby a new generation will be inspired to become part of what is going to be at the heart of medical breakthroughs, personalised treatment plans and the healthcare revolution that’s been promised for so long.
This can be a template for how partnerships between commercial companies and the NHS can advance the way we research and practice medicine.
We don’t want to lose the ethos of the NHS but we also know that new models of working are needed to ensure its future viability. And that’s what this represents – a private sector management under HSL that understands what the NHS stands for, among those who work in it and those who benefit from it. And also understands where investment is most urgently needed.
If this partnership improves patient care and puts us at the forefront of research – which I am certain it will – then it will be difficult to deny that public-private collaborations work.
Since we already have 200 NHS consultants working with us to help NHS patients this feels very different from a commercial company. The people here are benefiting from the finest, privately-bought and managed equipment, yet are still providing a service within the NHS. These pathologists are working, somewhat uniquely, in an organisation that primarily provides only pathology. They share the same vision and views things through the same window. That’s why it feels so unique and inspiring, and the Halo is the embodiment of that.
Suddenly, pathology will rise from its traditional home in the basement and capture the public imagination in much the same way as a brand new cancer clinic does. This project is about more than the people who have set it up and those who will be the first through its doors – it is about lifting an entire field of medicine.
Geographically, too, it marks the development of a cluster of world-renowned excellence. Top universities, teaching hospitals, the Crick Institute, pharmaceutical companies, transport links to the venture capitalists of the city and to the research scientists of Oxford and Cambridge. All are here in this corner of central London – and pathology is at the heart of that.
As molecular advances put pathology at the centre of advanced medicine, diagnosis and treatment, so a new generation of pathologists will realise how influential this field can become. Normally it’s down to the surgeon to dictate the treatment but now the pathologist, through genetic testing and analysis, will contribute just as significantly.
And through it all, the patient will benefit, and in ways we’ve yet to contemplate. Faster diagnosis, better care and more tailored treatments – and all because pathology has been given the opportunity to help revolutionise medicine.