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As Health Services Laboratories (HSL) look to transform its new headquarters inside the Halo Building, we hear how the move will bring a number of benefits to help the company progress and reach new heights.

The opportunity to design and build a new, world class clinical diagnostics laboratory from scratch is likely to remain a pipedream for most people. However, it is very much a reality for Health Services Laboratories’ (HSL) Group Laboratory Director, Tim Herriman and his team. After more than a year of building works, in December last year, HSL took possession of their brand new building, named the Halo building, in Central London. Now, the process has begun to transform the building into the company’s flagship laboratory and parent company, Sonic Healthcare’s UK, corporate headquarters.

HSL is a progressive partnership between The Doctors Laboratory, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust (the Royal Free London) and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH). The move to the Halo marks the culmination of two years of meticulous planning and design, and has resulted in a number of firsts; to create one of the most modern and efficient laboratories in Europe, and ensure services meet the highest possible standards is testing enough. To do so in a building in Central London that rises vertically over eleven floors posed some very specific design and operational challenges.

There are also the logistics of relocating pathology laboratories from four organisations, two of which are NHS Teaching Hospitals with specialist services, equipment and people, into one place. Over the course of the

30 | Tomorrow’s Laboratories

next few months, the blood sciences laboratories, infection sciences, including microbiology, viral PCR and immunology, and molecular genetics disciplines will be transferred from two existing HSL premises. The remaining disciplines and the laboratories at the Royal Free London and North Middlesex (NMUH) hospitals will also shortly relocate to the Halo.

The hospitals will, however, be left with urgent diagnostics on site. Each hospital site will have a newly-equipped rapid response laboratory which will deal with a basic specific range of in-patient tests. All this has already happened at RFH and NMUH without compromising the day-to-day services.

Notwithstanding the scale of the relocation, the Halo building does offer the opportunity to challenge and rethink how HSL offers their services. It has meant both designing in some specific features and designing out various issues they’ve encountered over many years of taking over diagnostic services and building new laboratories.

For example, service resilience is vital to the business. The Halo now has its own uninterrupted power supply (UPS) protecting the whole building and a duplicated industrial- scale water purifying system which provides for all floors. Such additions mean the laboratories can function entirely independently of external factors and minimise the risk of interruptions.

A new build also offers the prospect of combining the expertise of scientists, process engineers,

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