Work on a new £27m dedicated pathology laboratory has started at St James’s Hospital in Leeds (part of The Leeds Teaching Hospitals (LTH) NHS Trust), with the demolition of old buildings making room for the new facility.
The facility will help hospitals across Leeds, West Yorkshire and Harrogate, and allow the trust to bring a number of pathology services together in a purpose-built laboratory. It will make room for cutting edge equipment and specialist technology, designed for fast, accurate, routine and specialist testing.
The new laboratory forms part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network, through the collaboration of the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT). Support will be given to 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.
Dr Phil Wood, Chief Medical Officer for LTH, and a Consultant Immunologist said: “Pathology teams have played an absolutely vital role in the fast turnaround of testing during the current Covid pandemic.
“Progressing work on these fantastic new facilities is great news, not just for the services we’ll be able to offer patients in the future – but for pathology staff who’ll be working with state-of-the-art equipment and buildings.”
The new facility will allow the trust to incorporate some of the services currently housed in outdated facilities, in the Old Medical School at Leeds General Infirmary. Most of the services — including some delivered from St James’s University Hospital — will be incorporated into the new building.
Dr Olorunda Rotimi, Clinical Director for Pathology, at the trust said: “The new building will allow us to bring together services under one roof and that will enable us to maximise the technologies and manpower to continue delivering a seamless high-quality clinical service.”
Peter Kabuga who recently qualified as a specialist biomedical scientist, said: “As pathology plays a vital role in ensuring patients get accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment. I think that bringing services together in the new laboratory will allow for better quality and more efficient care.
“Being able to work alongside colleagues from other disciplines will also offer me a great opportunity to learn and exchange knowledge, experience and technical skills.”
It also provides a new opportunity for the old estate at Leeds General Infirmary, to be be developed into something else to benefit Leeds in the future, as part of an innovation district in the city centre.
Julian Hartley, Chief Executive at the trust, said: “The new laboratory is part of our wider improvement plans to enable the trust to take a huge leap forward in how it delivers care for patients from Leeds and beyond.”
The project is part of the LTH Building the Leeds Way programme — a long-term vision to transform healthcare facilities across the trust for patients and staff. Work on a new adults’ hospital and a new place for Leeds Children’s Hospital — on the Leeds General Infirmary site — has also already started.
The laboratory will also integrate a single, shared Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for the area, enabling a system-wide approach for pathology across West Yorkshire and Harrogate acute hospitals.
Construction is due to start later this year, and the new facility is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2023.