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A REGIONAL pathology centre which could cost nearly £80 million looks a step closer in Swansea. The building at Morriston Hospital would also host immunology and microbiology facilities.

Swansea Bay University Health Board members agreed to take forward the proposal at a meeting, although more work is needed to finalise exactly where it would be built.

Researchers and clinicians at the cellular pathology centre would analyse tissues and organs to diagnose and study disease.

The health board has been developing the proposal for years, in tandem with neighbouring Hywel Dda University Health Board and Public Health Wales.

A report before the board said:

“NHS pathology is a under significant pressure and all health boards are having challenges to its provision. Having a regional solution will centralise resources and provide a more robust and sustainable service for the future.”

The three organisations originally came to the view that Morriston Hospital was the best site but the Welsh Government, which will fund the new centre, wanted to know if other options had been considered and if the centre could be partially located elsewhere.

More than 20 sites along the M4 corridor between Port Talbot and Carmarthen were then assessed, and the Welsh Government approved a £77 million strategic outline case for the project.

Three sites went on to be shortlisted: two at Morriston Hospital and one at Parc Felindre business park, north of junction 46 of the M4. Parc Felindre was then discounted.

The preferred option is adjacent to the existing pathology unit at Morriston Hospital, although a central area of the hospital site has not been ruled out yet.

Christine Morrell, director of therapies and health science, said the board would now look to finalise the choice between the two options.

Health board chief executive Mark Hackett said the Morriston location was “entirely consistent” with wider aims to make the hospital site a clinical and academic campus.

“This is absolutely the right decision,” he said.

The health board heard that patients wouldn’t attend the pathology centre, and that it wasn’t an area that the public would generally visit.

A supply chain partner for the centre will be appointed, prior to an outline business case being submitted to ministers.£77m regional pathology centre

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