In November, Jnetics officially opened a second office based in Prestwich, Manchester. It is situated in The Fed, Manchester’s major Jewish social care charity, providing an ideal community location for the new premises. Aviva Lewis, the new Programme Development Officer, who was previously employed by Jnetics and based in London, is the member of staff working from the new office. She will be responsible for coordinating Jnetics’ activities in the Jewish communities outside of London, including Scotland.
It is Aviva’s goal to replicate both the education and screening services provided by Jnetics across the UK and this project is already under way. In the first week of January, Jnetics officially launched their ‘Virtual Clinic’- an off-shoot of their Barnet Clinic. It is a service designed specifically so that individuals living outside of London can access carrier screening for 9 severe recessive Jewish genetic disorders.
Participation in the Virtual Clinic essentially involves remote participation in the Barnet Clinic. Only those living outside of London are eligible to take part. Individuals sign up online at the same link as the Barnet Clinic, but rather than attending face-to-face, attend it via phone call. Jnetics sends a screening pack to the participant via post prior to the appointment, which contains the necessary forms and saliva collection kit. After the phone call, the participant provides their sample from home and posts this, along with the forms to the lab at Liverpool Women’s Hospital for testing. Results are returned via email from the genetic counsellor 8-10 weeks later.
The opening of the new office, and the launch of the new clinic is a huge milestone for Jnetics and the UK Jewish community. For the first time, there will be equal access to carrier screening for everyone of Ashkenazi Jewish origin across the country.