A new £8 million specialist laboratory, which will analyse 50,000 cervical smear tests and blood samples a day, has opened at a Birmingham hospital.
The state-of-the-art extension to the pathology centre at Heartlands Hospital will carry out specialist testing for cervical cancer, chlamydia and MRSA.
It will also process tuberculosis tests from across the UK.
The hospital’s 400 laboratory staff deal with more than 2.6 million clinical samples every year.
The building was paid for by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and Public Health England West Midlands.
Steve Waller, from the trust said: “It’s more than just a new building, new equipment and new way of working, it will help improve services to patients.
“It has been designed by people who manage the laboratory, in partnership with Public Health England, and as well as automated testing provides a specialist testing suite for molecular sciences.”
Dr Martin Dedicoat, lead for TB at the hospital, said: “TB almost disappeared from the West Midlands in the 1980s, but the number of cases has steadily increased.
“Through these facilities, patients will be diagnosed faster and we can link up who has transmitted the infection to who.”
Consultant Microbiologist, Prof Peter Hawkey, added: “The laboratory medicine development gives us the ability to really use DNA based technology to diagnose infection.”