Sheffield HQ upgrade helps bring major national screening contract

Maria Gemenetzi, senior laboratory technician and Tim Alston, technical director at Preventx

Sheffield’s integrated diagnostics company, Preventx, has secured a major new £200m contract as part of the London Sexual Health Transformation Programme.

The company, which tripled its premises size in a move to ARBA Group’s refurbished Meadowhall Business Park last June, offers world class remote laboratory solutions and public screening services.

It won the contract to service the screenings delivered by the pan-London Sexual Health e-Service which is a new digital health initiative aimed at reducing the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV in London.

Londoners, who want a check-up for sexually transmitted infections but have no symptoms, will now be able to access information online and register to receive self-sampling kits allowing them, in many cases, to bypass clinic visits completely.

Preventx will be the lead provider, but will bring in some additional support from Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, Lloyds Pharmacy Limited and Zesty, for the contract which lasts up to nine years.

Tim Alston, technical director at Preventx, said: “This contract win is an exciting time for us and also an important step forward in health screening.

“Our relocation to Meadowhall Business Park marked the beginning of a new phase in the development and expansion of Preventx meaning a bigger premises and the upgrade of our testing facilities to become more efficient, and have room to expand.

“Previously we were conducting more than 150,000 health screenings a year, now we are looking at the possibility of up to four million and our new base has that capacity.

“We already have an excellent track record of providing high quality innovative services for patients and working in partnership with the NHS across the country and are now also looking at recruiting extra staff on top of our current team of 15.”

The new e-service is the result of a unique collaboration between 29 London boroughs which commission sexual health services and was developed following comprehensive consultations with patients and clinicians.

A new easy to use website will guide people through a risk assessment process to identify the most clinically appropriate tests for their individual needs. A self-sampling kit is posted out to complete at home, which can be sealed and posted back to Preventx. Results will then be communicated by text or telephone.

The service is being rolled out across most of London, with an emphasis on supporting people who currently attend clinics to use the online service to free up clinic space on the ground.

Preventx, set up in 2007, works with local authorities and NHS Trusts to deliver integrated screening services across 87% of England.

It has won numerous awards and currently provides a fully integrated remote chlamydia screening service to over 100 local authority areas around England and also operates Public Health England’s HIV testing initiatives.

Preventx currently occupies 7,500 sq ft in Block 5 at Meadowhall Business Park which is located close to the new Ikea and Meadowhall Shopping Centre, and is being marketed by Knight Frank & Campbell & Co.

Other tenants at the popular 70,000 sq ft business park include Tuffnells, NG Bailey, Auburn Ainsley Limited, Chique Photography, KitchenEx, Wilford Smith, Eaton Commercial Property Consultants Ltd and Galaxy Insulation and Dry Lining (Holdings) Limited.

Richard Burns, director at ARBA Group, said: “This is fantastic news for Preventx. The flexibility of accommodation at Meadowhall Business Park allowed for their laboratories to be state of the art and streamlined to deal with the extra capacity for this work.”

Just two of the five refurbished buildings remain at Meadowhall Business Park with available suites from 3,750 sq ft to 15,000 sq ft plus on-site car parking.


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