23 April 2024

Diagnostics North East Annual Conference 2024 – Post event report


“How can diagnostic innovation be the saviour of the NHS?”


On Friday 19th April 2024, we were delighted to host our sold-out annual Diagnostics North East (DxNE) conference “How can diagnostic innovation be the saviour of the NHS?”. Held at Newcastle upon Tyne’s state of the art venue, The Catalyst, the event brought together over 170 leading professionals, spanning healthcare, academia, industry, regulatory governance, funding, and support sectors.

With over 50 on the waiting list, the demand for this event was clear, with high calibre key note speakers and a broad range of break out sessions offering delegates the opportunity to choose topics across diagnostic specialities.

View our full photo gallery from our event here. A summary of our event is below:


Our morning sessions:

Opening the conference Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed from the University of Liverpool, delivered our first keynote presentation on “Pharmacogenetic testing for medicines optimisation”.  The vital role of pharmacogenetic testing to predict and prevent adverse drug reactions was discussed, offering significant opportunities to reduce the pressures on the NHS through bed occupancy, and to optimise patient treatment and care.


Dr Edoardo Gaude from UpFront Diagnostics then told the inspiring story of the development of “LVOne” – a rapid blood test or the identification of stroke patients for mechanical thrombectomy.  As a Cambridge based company, UpFront Diagnostics have worked extensively with Diagnostics North East teams, and others across the North East of England, including Newcastle University, the NIHR HealthTech Research Centre, Health Innovation North East and North Cumbria, Northumbria University, and the North East Ambulance Service.


Our morning breakout sessions:

Three morning breakout sessions included “The role of pathology in clinical trials”, “Building a highly specialised laboratory – an exemplar of mitochondrial disease” and a follow up from last year’s highly popular session on care pathway analysis “Where might my test work?”.

With a mixture of presentation format, and interactive workshops, the sessions allowed delegates to move between rooms and interact with different delegates, and challenge sessions leads.


Lunch time – networking and facilities showcase:

An incredible buzz in the room at lunchtime was thanks to a packed atrium of exhibitor stands, and high-quality local catering, provided by Boldon Pantry Farmhouse.  With 12 exhibitors, and a big screen showcasing our sponsors, the venue provided a perfect location to interact.

During the break, our Newcastle University Research Facilities team also delivered a drop in session on their Biomedical research facilities, including protein and proteome analysis, flow cytometry, preclinical imaging and the core genomics facility.


Our afternoon:

Kicking off the afternoon, we were proud to welcome our second keynote speaker, Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive, Newcastle Hospitals. Presenting “Diagnostics – time for big leaps..?”, the complex demands on the NHS due to waiting times were discussed, with it acknowledge we are making good progress on reducing long waits.

However, diagnostics are a key building block to wider recovery, with February seeing a record number of diagnostic tests and checks delivered for that month – 2.24 million. It was questioned if we are being radical and creative enough? Are we harnessing our relationships? And are we looking through the customer lens?


Our afternoon breakout sessions:

Afternoon breakout sessions included “Innovations in endoscopic and GI cancer diagnostics”, “Medical Device Regulation”, and “Patient and Public Involvement in diagnostic research an innovation”.

With patients and the public involvement and engagement (PPIE) at the heart of diagnostic development, the active involvement of John Bedlington and Rosemary Nicholls, provided invaluable context and insights into patient and public perspectives, recognising the need to demonstrate respect for the public, particularly minority populations, and to minimise use of acronyms to aid engagement and understanding.


Our event close:

Our final keynote speaker of the day, Professor John Simpson, closed the day with the story of the journey of HealthTech Research Centres (HRC), transitioning from Diagnostic Evidence Cooperatives, to MedTech Invitro Diagnostic Cooperatives (MICs) to the current HRCs.

The considerable progress since 2013, focussing on invitro diagnostics, with steady growth over time has had huge impact – with >240 companies engaged, 62 funded projects, >£20m project value and now 24 trained methodologists.  With the new HRC open for business, integrated PPIE in every project, and new technology/AI and expertise, this represents a jewel in the North Easts Crown.


Mhairi Anderson, Operations Manager, Diagnostics North East, said:

“The buzz at this year’s event and the energy in the room was incredible, which is largely attributable to our exceptional speakers, exhibitors and diverse range of delegates who attended, and contributed so enthusiastically.  We are grateful to all our sponsors, without whom this event could not take place – and to our regional army of support teams who brought this event to life”.

With thanks to our sponsors:

And our event team:


For further information on Diagnostics NE, please see our website, or contact us nuth.diagnosticsnortheast@nhs.net.