The Minister of State for Health and Secondary Care, Will Quince, officially inaugurated a state-of-the-art pathology laboratory aimed at serving patients across West Yorkshire.

Minister Quince, accompanied by Dame Linda Pollard and Professor Phil Wood, unveiled the plaque alongside partners from Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, and the West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board.

The Centre for Laboratory Medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust signifies a significant milestone in regional healthcare, as it will consolidate pathology services from Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.

Besides Minister Quince, the opening event on 26 September drew a host of VIP guests including West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, who had the privilege of touring the cutting-edge facility.

In an educational addition to the occasion, young scientists from Mount St Mary’s Catholic High School actively participated in pathology experiments alongside the Trust’s dedicated staff, as part of the project’s broader community engagement programme.

Guests also interacted with project staff and partners from BAM, Siemens Healthineers, and Clinisys to gain insights into the benefits promised by this modern facility for patients, healthcare professionals, and the wider community.

This innovative regional collaboration, formed in partnership with the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts (WYAAT), will foster advancements in testing and diagnostics. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge equipment, the laboratory aims to provide quicker results for patients, regardless of their 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 £35 million 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 initiated the construction of the Centre for Laboratory Medicine in April 2022, involving the installation of 338 glass panels for its windows and 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, the majority of the Trust’s pathology services are provided from outdated facilities in the Old Medical School at the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and St James’s Hospital.

The new building will consolidate many of these services into one purpose-built facility. Once vacated, the Old Medical School will be repurposed as part of a plan to utilize surplus estate at the LGI for developing an innovation village, expected to create up to 4,000 new jobs, more than 500 new homes, and almost £13 billion in net present value.

Centralizing these essential pathology services within this state-of-the-art facility will streamline access to routine and direct testing while creating improved working conditions 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 minimize 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, the 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.