Innovative Soho clinic streamlines sexual health testing


May 15, 2014

An innovative self-service sexual health clinic has opened in Soho, London, where anyone can be screened free of charge six days a week

An innovative self-service sexual health clinic has opened in Soho, London, where anyone can be screened free of charge six days a week

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An innovative self-service sexual health clinic has opened in Soho, London, where anyone can be screened free of charge six days a week, while only waiting six hours to get their results back. The NHS Dean Street Express clinic was designed by Penson architects and features a high-tech system that allows patients to log themselves in, before being given a self-test kit and shown to a screening room. The clinic is also home to the first on-site Infinity machine, which quickly tests all samples and allows for results to be sent back to the patients within six hours of testing.

"Anybody who needs a quick sexual health check-up can benefit from the self-service clinic," Penson architects tells Gizmag. "No appointment is necessary and it's open to all members of the public, regardless of age, sexual orientation or whether you're a resident of the area."

Drawing inspiration from luxury hotels and restaurants, Penson architects designed the clinic to resemble anything but a medical facility. Designer fittings and artwork litter the facility and the four screening rooms have been designed around different aspects of the surrounding Soho areas; including fittings and elements from famous shopfronts and photography of iconic landmarks.

"We like to think we captured the essence of Soho pretty well," tells Penson. "We love the photography that lines the walls in the downstairs waiting area. All of the images are of the Soho area and were taken by nurses who work at the clinic."

The self-service clinic comes equipped with a series of iPads located in the reception area, which allows patients to log themselves into the system, before being sent through to one of the four screening rooms. Each patient is given a kit to facilitate a variety of self-service tests: such as collecting urine samples or mouth swabs. However, patients wishing to complete HIV and other blood test will be personally seen by an onsite medical practitioner. This unique semi-automated system means the medical staff have more time to focus on testing samples and getting results back to their patients as soon as possible.

Inside the screening room, demonstration videos explain to the patients how to complete the test themselves. Once they have prepared the test samples all they need to do is insert them into an air-tight capsule and place it into a vacuum tube which shoots it through to the lab for testing. Six hours later patients will then receive an SMS text message with their results and instructions on how to make a follow-up appointment if treatment is required.

"Personally we love the pneumatic vacuum systems that carries samples from the screening rooms to the lab for testing," tells Penson. "It was great fun to design something so futuristic and for all the right reasons."

Dean Street Express Clinic is open Monday to Saturday til 7pm and the video below demonstrates how the self-service facilities work.

Source: Penson

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

While I think that is really nice, it is a little too white / sterile. IMO, it needs a little more color.

If they are referring to the gnumatic tubes as 'futuristic', I believe that has been around for quite some time.


The clinic is a great idea; the decor is naff to the Nth degree, far to sterile.

Pneumatic tubes were in use in Victorian times, nothing new there!

Stuart Wilshaw

Free of charge, confidential and fast. This ladies and gentlemen is how you improve public health.


"we love the pneumatic vacuum systems ... something so futuristic"

A good application but futuristic-wise this technology is more back to it:

1853: linking the London Stock Exchange to the city's main telegraph station (a distance of 220 yards (200 m) ) 1861: in London with the London Pneumatic Despatch Company providing services from Euston railway station to the General Post Office and Holborn 1865: in Berlin (until 1976), the Rohrpost, a system 400 kilometers in total length at its peak in 1940 1866: in Paris (until 1984, 467 kilometers in total length from 1934) 1875: in Vienna (until 1956) 1887: in Prague (until 2002 due to flooding), the Prague pneumatic post[6] 1897: in New York City with the New York pneumatic tube mail connecting Brooklyn and upper and lower Manhattan with 27 miles (43 km) of tubes, connecting 23 post offices. (until 1953)

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