New alcohol and drug testing center opens in Swadlincote town center

A drug and alcohol testing center could open in Swadlincote, offering new jobs, new plans have revealed. The Grove Street building was previously the headquarters of South Derbyshire Community Voluntary Support (CVS) which left the premises after 20 years due to changes in its working practices amid the covid pandemic.

Now Medical, Health and Education Ltd wants to move in and use the ground floor as a medical laboratory and the first floor as residential accommodation for the owners as 24 hour attendance is required. Medical, Health and Education Ltd is specializing in workplace drug and alcohol testing, drug education and occupational health/medical testing.

Plans have now been submitted to South Derbyshire District Council for permission to convert the building. The company is run by a husband and wife team with a workforce of three to 18 during the recent pandemic. Ten new roles will be created by their new plans if approved.

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A report submitted with the application said: “The proposal would provide an on-site laboratory, current practice is to use third-party laboratories, which would require staff levels of 10 in total, three full-time staff, two being co-directors of the company and seven part-time employees working shifts.

“The expertise to successfully implement and manage the laboratory is provided by Mr Evans, who was a scientific officer in a Home Office approved forensic laboratory, having previously worked in the field of drug abuse/toxicology, and HM Prisons and Substance Abuse Treatment Centres, and Ms Evans, a qualified teacher and a strong supporter of the drug and alcohol education workshops the company offers to schools , colleges and other businesses.”

The report adds that currently UK drug testing labs have an average turnaround time of three to five days, during which time the employee is suspended.

Medical, Health and Education Ltd says it intends to offer overnight turnaround time, which the companies say would be considerably faster than the current average, reducing suspension time by one employee and drastically reducing the cost of testing programs.

The company hopes to expand the range of health tests and provide the local community with affordable medical diagnostics, particularly in the field of early detection of cancer, and/or tests allowing more suitable cancer treatments.

The request added that the premises would provide educational support for children in the area, as well as meeting rooms for community groups. A decision should be made in the coming months.

South Derbyshire CVS put its former home up for sale last year for £375,000 saying, at the time, that over the past 18 months of the pandemic it has adapted to new ways of working from home and in the food bank’s new premises at Hill Street Baptist Church.

The current base is a Grade II listed property and consists of 15 offices, a large meeting room, reception office and waiting room, as well as a kitchen and toilets. There is also parking and a separate cellar.

In February CVS revealed it had distributed more than 12,000 meals to families in South Derbyshire over seven months during the pandemic.

South Derbyshire CVS revealed between the start of the pandemic in March and October it provided 12,654 meals for 552 children and 854 adults.

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