A cutting-edge pathology laboratory designed to serve patients across West Yorkshire has been officially opened by the Minister of State for Health and Secondary Care, Will Quince.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s Centre for Laboratory Medicine marks a significant milestone in regional healthcare as it is set to house pathology services from Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.
In addition to Minister Quince, the opening event attracted a host of VIP guests including West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, all of whom had the privilege of touring the state-of-the-art facility.
Adding a touch of educational value to the occasion, young scientists from Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School participated in pathology experiments alongside the Trust’s dedicated staff, as part of the project’s wider community engagement programme.
Guests also engaged with project staff and partners from BAM, Siemens Healthineers and Clinisys to gain insights into the benefits this modern facility promises to deliver to patients, healthcare professionals, and the wider community.
This pioneering regional partnership, forged in collaboration with the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT), will drive innovation in testing and diagnostics. Equipped with advanced technology and state-of-the-art equipment, the laboratory aims to deliver faster results for patients, irrespective of their geographical location.
Health Minister Will Quince said: “This new, cutting-edge pathology laboratory will serve thousands of patients across West Yorkshire – helping to deliver faster results, speed up diagnoses and cut waiting lists.
“Backed by £35million of government funding, this new lab will look at more innovative ways to test and diagnose patients and will be equipped with advanced technology and the latest equipment. Crucially, by consolidating current services into one place it will streamline access to testing and improve working environments for staff.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “This new centre firmly cements West Yorkshire as a global leader in health technology – it will fuel innovation in diagnostic testing and deliver better outcomes for patients worldwide.
“It was inspiring to meet the staff who will pioneer these new technologies, as well as the talented high school students who could be our homegrown pathologists of the future.
“With this new centre, I’m confident that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will continue to play a vital role in our mission to build a brighter, happy West Yorkshire that works for all.”
BAM commenced construction of the Centre for Laboratory Medicine in April 2022 and involved fitting 338 glass panels to create its windows, in addition to installing 1,357 individual rainscreen cladding panels on its facade.
This new laboratory is a flagship project within the Leeds Teaching Hospital’s “Building the Leeds Way” capital investment and improvement program.
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.
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 which is expected to deliver up to 4,000 new jobs, more than 500 new homes and almost £13bn in net present value.
Consolidating these essential pathology services within this state-of-the-art facility will streamline access to routine and direct testing while fostering improved working environments for staff. It will also facilitate seamless continuity and transfer of patient care across the region.
Dame Linda Pollard, Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, expressed her excitement about the opening of the new pathology laboratory, saying:
“This is a landmark occasion for Leeds Teaching Hospitals and is the fruition of months of hard work from our staff and partners.
“I am incredibly proud to see that this fantastic new facility is now officially opened. Pathology plays a crucial role in the delivery of frontline care, and I am excited to see how, together with our colleagues in Calderdale and Mid Yorkshire, we can really drive innovative diagnostic testing across West Yorkshire.”
She also highlighted the broader impact, stating: “This impressive new building is a key milestone in our wider capital investment programme, as we start to progress our plans for a new hospital at the LGI. The completion of our new pathology laboratory is a catalyst for our proposed innovation village when the Old Medical School is vacated, bringing far-reaching economic benefits for the whole region.”
The Trust’s commitment to sustainability and innovation is evident in this world-class pathology building. Designed with flexibility and digital integration in mind, the facility is on track to achieving high-certified standards in staff well-being and sustainability.
Its environmentally conscious features include full mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems to minimise power consumption and promote heat reuse.
Additionally, the laboratory will adopt a single, shared Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) to enable electronic test requests, tracking, and results reporting to clinical services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.
The Centre for Laboratory Medicine is set to become fully operational in 2024 after the installation of cutting-edge equipment and technology.
In addition to this milestone, construction of a new Acute Hospital Laboratory at Leeds General Infirmary has been completed, providing essential pathology testing facilities to support clinical services as the primary pathology services transition to the new St James’s facility.