Coronavirus patients at a Manchester hospital are benefiting from a unique collaboration between NHS physiotherapists and a design engineer better used to working on stair lifts and showering systems...
When bosses at Tameside Hospital realised they needed a vital valve to support machines used to treat COVID-19 patients like Boris Johnson, they listened to their team of physiotherapists who had fathomed out how to solve the problem.
Working with local designer, Mark Bushdyhan, the team created a prototype plastic valve that has been tested on hospital staff with 100 per cent success and is now being used to support virus patients, who like the Prime Minister, haven't needed to go on ventilators but do need respiratory machine support.
The healthcare professionals collaborated with Mark to devise the T-shaped valve, which weighs a couple of ounces and costs under £4 to produce, after discovering a shortage of valves – a vital components in the treatment of certain COVID-19 patients.
Then, using 3D printing, father of three Mark worked on producing the plastic valve over the Easter Bank holiday weekend. He says he was delighted to have been asked to get involved and proud that he has been able to make a contribution to support the hospital where he was born.
He adds: "My company Fabricon, based in Aston under Lyne, are more used to designing component parts for stair lifts and showering systems so this was a bit of a challenge. But the team explained what was needed and gave me clear instructions. It was a special moment for me when we tested the valve and it worked. The team at Tameside Hospital are doing a fantastic job and I was happy to play my part."
Trish Cavanagh, the hospital's Chief Operating Officer says the collaboration has been a lifesaver and will benefit many coronavirus patients who will need these respiratory machines to aid their breathing and hopefully, eventual recovery.
She explains; "We are an integrated care NHS trust and put the call out for help through Tameside Council's network of local businesses and companies. Mark came to our aid and worked with Catherine and the team to solve the problem. We've tested it, it works and is already helping our patients. We are happy to share what we have created with other trusts. It's worked for us and could benefit others."