A topping out was held on 8 November, with staff and key stakeholders signing the concrete stair core. Several pathology staff were invited to celebrate the completion of the highest point of the build, and to see where they will be working in the future. Footage captured by the Trust’s time-lapse camera shows the roof structure being completed and covering the lift and stair cores. BAM Construction has made significant progress on the laboratory in the past few weeks, with the first windows now installed.
The new facility will be part of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Pathology Network, formed through the collaboration with the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts, 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 laboratory will help meet the growing regional demand for specialist treatment and care while providing development opportunities for staff.
Dr Phil Wood, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at LTHT, said: “We are incredibly proud to reach this significant milestone in the construction of our new pathology laboratory. To be able to stand on the roof and see the building taking shape has been really exciting, and means we are one step closer to realising our ambition to drive collaboration across multiple Trusts in our region, and support improvements in specialist and routine diagnostic testing for all our patients, right across West Yorkshire and Harrogate. It’s going to be a fantastic working space for our staff, with cutting edge technologies paving the way for more innovative and transformative pathology services supporting both primary and secondary care delivery.”
With much of the pre-fabrication happening off site, BAM Construction says it has been able to maximise efficiencies in its programme delivery and reduce waste, supporting the Trust’s sustainability and Net Zero carbon ambitions.
Paul Cleminson, BAM Pre-Construction director, 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 for others later on in operating 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, and 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, with pathology services then transferring throughout 2023 and 2024, becoming fully operational following the installation of new, high-tech equipment. The project 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 majority of 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’, expected to deliver up to 3,000 new jobs and £11.2 bn in net present value.
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. To be mechanically ventilated, with heat recovery and systems to minimise power and re-use heat, the facility will also incorporate a single, shared Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for the region, which will enable tests to be ordered, tracked and results reported electronically, to clinical services across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, speeding up results for patients.