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A Diagnostics Day in the Life: Bruce Daniel

By July 22, 2022No Comments

Bruce Daniel, Head of Pathology for NHS England, South West region, explains what a day in his working life is like.

1.What does your work day look like in terms of tasks, meetings, strategy setting?

My working day revolves around Teams meetings with the regional diagnostic team, the wider regional teams and Pathology network leads, although it is nice to get out more in recent weeks. Task wise there are reports to review and generate, meetings to plan and agendas to circulate alongside the inevitable trail of emails about myriad pathology and other related activities, queries and issues. As a regional lead I talk to and meet with the other regional leads and the national team, as well as the regional network leads, to continue the journey of transforming pathology. In the region the pathology and diagnostic teams meet regularly to catch up and review our workplans and ideas against strategic goals and to keep in touch socially given our home bases are spread across a wide geographic area

2. What are your areas of responsibility in your job role?

My role looks to provide expert clinical and senior leadership support to the Head of Diagnostics across a wide range of activities to support the improvement of Pathology services across the NHS in SW England. Working within the National pathology team, I work collaboratively with Regional colleagues supporting diagnostic service transformation at a local level. As Head of Pathology I work as part of a dynamic team in delivering an effective service supporting managers and staff across the SW Pathology Networks to deliver the opportunities highlighted by Lord Carter’s review of Operational Productivity (2016), improving the quality, productivity and efficiency of pathology services across the NHS in England. This will include supporting the agenda to embed pathology networks, improving and their development to a mature status. There is a continuing focus on workforce planning in the widest sense and the drive to digitisation and the adoption of innovation in NHS pathology services and to maximise the sustainable legacy of investment made as part of the Covid-19 pandemic response. In parallel to the pathology roles I have roles as part of the wider regional diagnostic team in the development of CDC’s and the improvement of diagnostic system performance.

3. What has been your career path so far?

I am currently the Head of Pathology for the South West region of NHSE I started my career as a junior B MLSO in clinical chemistry and worked towards being the Pathology service manager in Truro, the Pathology Incident Director during covid for the South 1 (Peninsula) network and a member of the South 1 network board. During my career across almost 35 years in the NHS I have also enjoyed  roles as an imaging service manager, and as divisional manager of a clinical support division and a medicine and ED division in Truro. My current interests are in the development of pathology network benefit, all things digital, “externalising” pathology and point of care testing

4. What motivates you in your role?

I get up in the morning excited at the thought of improving pathology services in the widest sense and across all aspects of pathology. This is an opportunity to shape the future provision of pathology, to extend the visibility of benefits from pathology and to shout loudly about how pathology can help in many health and social care pathways for patients and the population.

5. How can we build on the lessons learned from the pandemic to help the diagnostics industry in the future?

The pandemic has shown that there is always something new around the corner and that there is always an answer to a question, whether that question is a recurring or a new one. The speed of change that has become apparent through the pandemic has shown that the pace of changes can be faster than in previous times and that the adoption of new technologies, digitisation, new ways of working and how pathology is integrated into and across systems can be better. Partnership working between different government organisations, the commercial sector and health providers is something we should not lose. For the diagnostics industry this should be via a more collaborative approach to develop the best possible pathology provision, in all aspects of services.

6. What fuels you through the day – food and drink-wise?

During the day I usually have a cup of tea on the go, one of Tetley, green tea or a herbal flavour. I’m usually looking forward to the next amazing meal my wife has created, and on “pasty Friday” look forward to this local delicacy from the famous “Philps” pasty emporium in my home town.


Natalie Creaney