Work begins on new state-of-the-art pathology lab at St James's Hospital in Leeds to help meet growing demand

Work has begun on a new state-of-the-art pathology laboratory in Leeds which hospital bosses say will improve diagnostics and help meet growing demand for specialist treatment and care.

By Joanna Wardill
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 4:56 pm

The facility, at St James’s Hospital, will support hospitals which serve patients across the city as well as Harrogate and West Yorkshire, and is part of plans which aim to “revitalise healthcare” in the region.

Leeds-based BAM Construction has now begun work on site, at the north end of the hospital campus, with the new building expected to be completed in summer 2023 and able to open its doors in the autumn.

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From left: Paul Cleminson, BAM Construction NE Pre-Construction Director; Emma Payne, senior biomedical scientist; Dame Linda Pollard, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; Ionna Fasidaki higher level support worker; Julian Hartley, Chief Executive, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The start of work is a further boost for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s wider revamp plans which include development of a new adults’ hospital, a new home for Leeds Children’s Hospital and the largest single-site maternity centre in the UK at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

The new pathology laboratory means the Trust can incorporate most of its pathology services, including those currently housed in outdated facilities in the LGI’s Old Medical School, which, once empty, will form part of a future “innovation village”.

The innovation village is five hectares of land and existing buildings at the LGI which, when the new hospitals are built, will be “unlocked” to develop a world-class hub for research, innovation and technology in health and life sciences - creating up to 3,000 new jobs and deliver up to £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 this latest work was a signal of intent by the trust to revitalise healthcare in Yorkshire.

“Seeing the contractors moving onto the site to start building the new laboratory at St James’s Hospital is a real boost for everyone and the beginning of exciting times in the development of healthcare for Leeds and the wider region,” he said.

“Pathology teams have continued to do a tremendous job in the fast turnaround of testing during the Covid pandemic while working in outdated facilities.

“The new laboratory will mean they will be able to work with new state-of-the-art equipment and buildings which will help provide an even better service for patients.”

Dame Linda Pollard, chairwoman of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Government decision on the new pathology laboratory shows how committed they are to our exciting plans for taking healthcare to the next level in Leeds, the Yorkshire region and beyond.

“Our development of two new hospitals and a new innovation district for the city is also the catalyst for the wider regeneration of Leeds city centre with the innovation district bringing new investment and jobs.”

Trust bosses said the aim is to develop a world-class pathology building which also supports the delivery of net zero carbon, aiming to be fully mechanically ventilated with heat recovery and systems to minimise power and re-use heat.

Funding is supported by the Health and Care Partnership and the laboratory will be part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network, formed through the collaboration of the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT).