Lab research

New pathology laboratory in Leeds reaches next stage

The demolition of old buildings has been completed to prepare for a new pathology laboratory at St James’s Hospital, serving Leeds and hospitals across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

The site has now been handed back to Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust by demolition contractors Connell Brothers. The new lab will be designed for fast, accurate, routine and specialist testing.

The new laboratory is part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network, formed through the collaboration of the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT).

It will support hospitals across the region to improve diagnostics for patients and help meet the growing regional demand for specialist treatment and care - as well as providing development opportunities for staff.   It is hoped to have the new facility completed in 2023.

Simon Worthington, the trust’s Director of Finance, and Senior Responsible Officer for Building the Leeds Way - the trust’s development of two new hospitals at Leeds General Infirmary along with the new pathology lab - said: “We’re delighted at the progress we have made on the new pathology laboratory development, and we are hoping construction on the new facility can begin later this year.

“It is part of our wider improvement plans to enable us to take a huge leap forward in how we deliver care for patients from Leeds and beyond and will also benefit pathology staff who’ll be working with state-of-the-art equipment and buildings.”

The progress on the new pathology laboratory follows on from the trust’s implementation of its post-Covid recovery plan for the services it provides patients – including the wider pathology service.

The recovery plan includes a focus on delivering faster cancer diagnoses for patients, world-leading digital pathology innovation, developing automation to support quicker testing, and working to bring together sample reception processes in readiness for the new laboratory.   

The next stage of the new laboratory project is to complete engagement with staff and stakeholders on the new designs, which the trust hopes to finalise soon.  The trust is expecting to submit a Full Business Case for the development before the end of the year and expects to begin construction soon afterwards. 

The new facility will allow Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to incorporate some of the services currently housed in outdated facilities in the Old Medical School at Leeds General Infirmary. 

Most of those services, as well as some of those delivered from St James’s University Hospital, will also be incorporated in the new building.

It will also enable the trust to release an old estate at Leeds General Infirmary that could be developed to benefit Leeds in the future as part of an Innovation District in the city centre. This forms a partnership between the trust, the city’s universities, and Leeds City Council to focus on healthcare talent, industry partnerships and research and innovation. 

It could bring about economic benefits for the city and wider region of up to £11.2bn in net present value terms, and create more than 3,000 jobs.

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NHE May/June 2024

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