Topping-out ceremony for Leeds’ new pathology lab

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 14-Nov-2022

Roof of the new laboratory now complete, marking a significant milestone in the delivery of the project, which is set to support improvements in diagnostic testing across the region

A topping-out ceremony has been held to mark the completion of the roof of the new pathology building for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT).

The milestone was marked with staff and key stakeholders signing the concrete stair core of the building, an event captured by a time-lapse camera showing the roof structure being completed and covering the lift and stair cores.

BAM Construction has made significant progress on the laboratory in the past few weeks, with the first windows of the building now installed.   

Based at St James’s Hospital, the new facility will become part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network, formed through the collaboration with the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT) and will support the delivery of pathology services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.   

As well as supporting improvements in diagnosis for people across the region, the new laboratory will also help to meet the growing regional demand for specialist treatment and care while providing development opportunities for staff.   

Dr Phil Wood, chief medical officer and deputy chief executive at LTHT, said: “We are incredibly proud to reach this significant milestone in the construction of our new pathology laboratory.

“To be able to stand on the roof and see the building taking shape has been really exciting and means we are one step closer to realising our ambition to drive collaboration across multiple trusts in our region and support improvements in specialist and routine diagnostic testing for all our patients, right across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

“It’s going to be a fantastic working space for our staff, with cutting-edge technologies paving the way for more-innovative and transformative pathology services supporting both primary and secondary care delivery.”

The topping-out ceremony saw key  stakeholders signing the concrete stair core of the new building

The topping-out ceremony saw key stakeholders signing the concrete stair core of the new building

With much of the pre-fabrication happening offsite, BAM Construction has been able to maximise efficiencies in its programme delivery and reduce waste, supporting the trust’s sustainability and net-zero carbon ambitions.  

Paul Cleminson, BAM pre-construction director, said: “This is an important scheme for us at BAM.

“We value our strong partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and digital techniques are assisting us with the precision of our work, co-ordinating the supply chain’s contributions and preserving valuable data for others later on in operating the building.” 

Building completion is planned for the end of summer 2023 and it is set to become fully operational by the end of 2023, with services transferring throughout 2023 and 2024 following the installation of new high-tech equipment.

It is also part of the Trust’s wider health improvement plan – known as Building the Leeds Way – which includes the development of a new adults’ hospital, a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital, and the largest single-site maternity centre in the UK – all brought together in one building on the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) site.  

Currently, the trust’s pathology services are provided from outdated facilities in the Old Medical School at the LGI and from St James’s Hospital.   

The new building will bring many of these services together and the vacated Old Medical School will form part of a plan to use surplus estate at the LGI to develop an innovation village which is expected to deliver up to 3,000 new jobs and £11.2billion in net present value. 

Funding for the new facility is supported by the Health and Care Partnership, recognising the importance of this critical development for partner organisations. 

The world-class pathology building is flexible and digital by design and will be mechanically ventilated, with heat recovery and systems to minimise power and re-use heat. 

It will also incorporate a single, shared Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for the region, which will mean tests can be ordered, tracked, and results reported electronically to clinical services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, speeding up results for patients. 

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