The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Building framework completes on Leeds' new pathology laboratory

19 October 2022

The steel frame structure of the new, state-of-the-art Pathology Laboratory at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is now complete, marking another significant milestone in the delivery of the project which is set to support improvements in diagnostic testing across the region. 

Footage captured by the Trust’s time-lapse camera shows the steel frame being built around the lift and stair cores, with BAM Construction now having completed the 10-week process on the building’s main structure. 

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 help to meet the growing regional demand for specialist treatment and care whilst providing development opportunities for staff.  

With much of the pre-fabrication happening off-site, 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.  

New Pathology Lab progress SJUH 1

Andrew Smithson, Project Manager at BAM Construction Ltd – North East, said:  “This is an important scheme for us at BAM. We value our strong partnership with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Digital techniques are assisting us with the precision of our work, co-ordinating the supply chain’s contributions, and preserving valuable data to be used throughout the operational life of the building.  

“Human input here is fantastic too, with hundreds of local people having worked on the scheme already. We have created 78 weeks of apprentice learning on site, conducted workshops with local academies and placements for local students. We have always said at BAM that it is not just what we build, but how we build it, that creates our legacy.”  

Building completion is planned for the end of summer 2023 and 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 £11.2 bn in net present value. 

Simon Worthington, the Trust’s Director of Finance and Senior Responsible Officer for the Building the Leeds Way Programme, said: “The new laboratory is progressing at pace and it’s really exciting to see the building taking shape.  

“As part of our improvement plans to transform healthcare delivery in our region and beyond, the new pathology laboratory will help to drive collaboration across multiple trusts and will support improvements in specialist and routine diagnostic testing for all our patients. It’s also going to be a fantastic working space for staff, with cutting edge technologies paving the way for more innovative and transformative pathology services supporting both primary and secondary care delivery.” 

The new laboratory forms a key part of the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership’s strategy for delivering pathology services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.  

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

The Trust aims to develop a world-class pathology building that is flexible, digital by design and that supports the delivery of net zero carbon. It 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.