A NEW pathology laboratory with the latest technology has opened at Airedale Hospital, bringing high quality testing facilities to the area.

It is the latest phase in a £2 million investment in pathology services in Airedale and Bradford.

Pathology at Airedale Hospital is delivered by Integrated Pathology Solutions LLP (IPS), a joint venture involving Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

This latest investment in pathology services follows recent spending on the Bradford Royal Infirmary site, where a brand new laboratory has also been established.

These laboratories serve patients at both hospitals and also at many GP practices across Bradford and Airedale.

The blood testing laboratory at Airedale has been significantly upgraded. It has also been moved into a large, open plan space, below the new Acute Assessment Unit, where robotic analysers and equipment have been installed.

The previous laboratories will be refurbished to create more room for other teams of scientists, who work on tissues and microbes.

Roughly 70 to 80 per cent of all healthcare diagnoses and decisions are directly influenced by pathology test results.

An Airedale Hospital spokesman said the new lab and equipment will bring "huge benefits".

Hannah Bateson, operational manager for Blood Sciences and Pathology IT at Airedale, said: “There are major advantages to the move. Blood sciences involve blood tests for people who are acutely ill in hospital, so we want faster turnaround times so staff can diagnose patients more quickly.

"This equipment allows us to process more samples than ever at the highest level of quality and accuracy.

"We will also have our scientists in one area rather than split over several laboratories.”

IPS has worked with biomedical instruments manufacturer Beckman Coulter to provide the most up-to-date automated analysers.

These have bigger capacities in order to handle the millions of tests IPS processes every year, including the nearly five million tests it processes for GPs annually.

Ms Bateson added: “Our new equipment means in the future we will be able to process more tests here, which will produce cost savings and bring an even bigger benefit to patients.

"Tests which had previously needed to be sent to other specialist hospital sites, and might take several weeks, will be able to be done within the week here in our own laboratories.

"For example, we are looking at being able to do a certain blood test for patients with myeloma, which is a cancer of the blood.

"Getting that result more quickly will be a big benefit to the haematologists both on the wards and on the Haematology and Oncology Day Unit, as it’s a frequently requested test.”