Pathology laboratory reaches new milestone

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 30-Mar-2023

Flagship Leeds lab project on track for summer opening

Construction of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s new state-of-the-art pathology laboratory has reached a new milestone, bringing it a step closer to transforming diagnostic services across West Yorkshire. 

Contractor, BAM, has completed the outer shell of the building, which is based at the trust’s St James’s University Hospital site, with all the windows now fitted using 338 pieces of glass. 

A further 1,357 individual rainscreen cladding panels have also been fitted to the façade and it is now on track to be operating with power in the coming weeks. 

Much of the interior work is now taking place, with ceilings, flooring, and fixed laboratory furniture currently being installed, while mechanical and electrical installations are also progressing ahead of new hi-tech equipment being installed.  

The new laboratory will be part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network, formed through the collaboration with the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts and will support the delivery of pathology services across West Yorkshire, with advanced equipment and new technologies to support innovative testing and diagnostics.  

Pathology is one of the key projects in the trust’s Building the Leeds Way programme of capital investment and improvements.  

Currently, most of the trust’s pathology services are delivered from outdated facilities in the Old Medical School at the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) as well as from St James’s Hospital. 

As we reach completion of the building’s facade and install the laboratories inside, we celebrate another exciting milestone on this important healthcare project

The new building will bring many of these services together into one purpose-built facility and, once vacated, the Old Medical School will be repurposed as part of a plan to use surplus estate at the LGI to develop an innovation village expected to deliver up to 4,000 new jobs and almost £13billion in net present value. 

Bringing these pathology services together into the new building will support the delivery of faster, more-accurate routine and specialist testing and help to drive improvements in diagnosis for patients across the region.  

Simon Worthington, the trust’s director of finance and senior responsible officer for the Building the Leeds Way programme, said: “Our new facility is now one step closer to driving improvements in the way we diagnose patients, not just in Leeds, but those living right across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.  

An artist's impression of how the new facility will look when completed this summer

An artist's impression of how the new facility will look when completed this summer

“The new pathology service will help to meet the growing regional demand for specialist treatment and care while providing development opportunities for staff which will be created through the use of new state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.” 

Using advanced digital techniques and offsite prefabrication, BAM has been able to maximise efficiencies in its programme delivery, reduce carbon, and reduce waste, supporting the trust’s sustainability and net zero carbon ambitions. 

Paul Cleminson, pre-construction director at BAM, said: “As we reach completion of the building’s facade and install the laboratories inside, we celebrate another exciting milestone on this important healthcare project.

“Our advanced digital techniques are allowing us to co-ordinate the works on site, to deliver the exceptional quality and precision these laboratories require.

“But it’s our strong relationship with the trust, and the effective collaboration between us, that’s the critical ingredient to the success that is being achieved here.” 

Construction of the new laboratory is set to complete later this summer, with pathology services then transferring on a phased basis throughout 2024 and becoming fully operational following the installation of new, high-tech equipment.  

Funding for the new facility is supported by the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership and the trust aims to develop a world-class pathology building that is flexible, digital by design, and supports the delivery of net zero carbon.

It will be mechanically ventilated with heat recovery 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. 

The construction of a new acute hospital laboratory is also underway at the LGI to provide emergency pathology facilities to support clinical services when the main pathology services at the LGI relocate to the new laboratory at St James’s. 

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