New pathology laboratory for Leeds and West Yorkshire gets underway
27 May 2021
Work on a new purpose-built, dedicated pathology laboratory at St James’s Hospital in Leeds has begun with the demolition of old buildings to pave the way for the new facility.
Once up and running the new £27m facility will serve hospitals across Leeds, West Yorkshire and Harrogate and will allow the Trust to bring many of its pathology services together into a purpose-built laboratory.
Preparation of the site continues, with construction due to start later this year and the new facility completed in the Spring of 2023.
Built to accommodate cutting edge equipment and specialist technology, the laboratory will be state-of-the-art and designed for fast, accurate, routine and specialist testing.
As part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network, formed through the collaboration of the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT), the new laboratory will support hospitals across the region to improve diagnostics for patients and help to 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 Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and a Consultant Immunologist, welcomed the progress with the project, and paid tribute to all pathology staff who have been among those in the frontline dealing with the COVID pandemic.
“Pathology teams have played an absolutely vital role in the fast turnaround of testing during the current COVID pandemic,” he said. “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.”
Supported by the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, the new facility will allow Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to incorporate some of those services currently housed in outdated facilities in the Old Medical School at Leeds General Infirmary.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 be incorporated in the new building.
Dr Olorunda Rotimi, the Trust’s Clinical Director for Pathology, said it was a fantastic step forward in plans to provide patients across the region with the most advanced health services and care. “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," he said.
One of those staff who is looking forward to the creation of the new pathology laboratory is Peter Kabuga who recently qualified as a specialist biomedical scientist.
“This new state of the art laboratory will offer me a great opportunity to further develop and enhance my skills and expertise to deliver a great pathology service for our patients,” he 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.”
The new pathology development is part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals’ 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 home for Leeds Children’s Hospital on the Leeds General Infirmary site has already begun.
The Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Julian Hartley, welcomed the pathology development. “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,” he said.
It will also enable the Trust to release 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. It is a partnership between the Trust, the city’s universities and Leeds City Council to focus on healthcare talent, industry partnerships and research and innovation.
The laboratory will also incorporate a single, shared Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for the area which will enable a system-wide approach for pathology across West Yorkshire and Harrogate acute hospitals.
Once in place the system will mean test requests can be ordered, tracked and results reported electronically to clinical services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. All will have equal access to patient information, regardless of where the hospital is based.
You can hear more about the project, including demolition footage, in this short video: https://youtu.be/T-wqmFxnLnY