Simon Worthington, the Trust’s Director of Finance and Senior Responsible Officer for the Building the Leeds Way Programme, said the start of works on the new pathology laboratory 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have continued to do a tremendous job in the fast turnaround of testing during the Covid pandemic while working in outdated facilities.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, chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said the start of works was a real commitment to the Trust’s overall plan to improve healthcare. “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.”
Two members of the pathology team who will be working in the new laboratory when it is completed will be Senior Biomedical Scientist Emma Payne and Higher Level Support Worker Ioanna Fasidaki who both work in clinical immunology.
Emma, who has been at the Trust for 15 years, said the current facilities in the Old Medical School were not best suited to a modern scientific environment. “It will be good to work in a new facility that will allow us to work more efficiently,” she said. “It will also bring clinical and cellular immunology teams together so we can work closer and extend our skills.”
Ioanna, who began working in immunology in 2020, was also looking forward to the move. “I am very excited about the new laboratory because we will not only be working closer to our other pathology teams but it will provide a faster turnaround for the testing that we do which will benefit patients.”
The new Laboratory forms a key part of the strategy for delivering pathology services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate and is prioritised by the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Health and Care Partnership that focuses upon delivering integrated care across the region.
Funding for the new Pathology Laboratory 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 aim to be fully 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 area which will mean test requests can be ordered, tracked and results reported electronically to clinical services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.