Dr Gillian Holdsworth and Dr Paula Baraitser have today been given the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for SH:24, the London sexual health provider that the pair co-founded in 2015.
Since it was introduced, testing rates in Lambeth & Southwark have doubled and there has been an 8% reduction in STI rates. It’s also led to an estimated £500k saving to the local sexual health economy.
The award recognises the not-for-profit’s innovation through its free online STI testing and support service, which makes it easier for people to get tested for the four most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in London. Free test kits, information and advice are provided 24 hours a day and the service is quick, discreet and completely confidential.
Co-founders Dr Gillian Holdsworth and Dr Paula Baraitser collected the award at a royal reception at Buckingham Palace along with people from the other 230 organisations announced nationally as winners of the prestigious business award.
Dr Gillian Holdsworth said: “We are very honoured to have received The Queen’s award for Enterprise for SH:24. We initially developed and launched SH:24 (with the support of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity) in Lambeth and Southwark, which had the highest STI rates in England. The service aimed to address sexual and reproductive health need in an area with insufficient capacity – but also to meet the growing demand for easy, hassle-free STI testing with clinical support.
“Our free STI home sampling kits can be used at home, without the need to spend time finding and attending an appointment, particularly in areas where the free NHS services are unavailable or oversubscribed, which has led to an 8% reduction in STI rates in the local area.
“But our legacy goes beyond hyperlocal impact. We have extended the reach of the service and are currently commissioned in 18 regions across England, launching soon in Germany. We also take a shared learning approach to our work and have published some of the most important research papers in the last 18 months, to change clinical practice.”