NHS NIC awards Frazer Nash medical product development grants

2 April 2010

Engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash has been awarded a series of development grants by the UK NHS National Innovation Centre (NIC) to develop innovative healthcare product concepts to support the needs of NHS patients.

Frazer-Nash will be developing novel solutions for three specific product needs: A splint to immobilise a fractured neck of femur, a carry chair to allow ambulance crews to move patients more easily, and a new paediatric transport chair.

The grants were secured following a competitive pitching process in which the NIC appealed to engineers to provide creative ideas for products that could help to transform the lives of NHS patients. As part of the initiative the NIC consulted with clinicians in ambulance services and paediatric wards who helped to create a ‘wish list’ of health product requirements.

Frazer-Nash responded to the initiative by offering several preliminary concepts to address each area of need. The company has now been asked by the NIC to develop prototype designs emphasising the importance of maintaining the involvement from the clinical stakeholders to develop and review these solutions.

Initial ideas include a three-wheeled ambulance chair capable of negotiating stairs to aid the movement of patients, a modular paediatric transport system to allow growth of the child and an inflatable support for a fractured neck of femur (hip) splint.

The end of this phase of development will result in a preferred design solution that the NIC and clinical stakeholders have reviewed. The next phase of the programme will involve successful companies being required to refine the prototype and develop a full business plan.

Alex Knight, Frazer-Nash Engineering Consultant, commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded this great opportunity to support health professionals across the country. There’s a real potential to develop some innovative solutions to current specific health product requirements and we have a skilled and experienced design team with a proven record of developing related products. Through this project I’m confident that we can implement changes that will make a real difference to patients and carers.”

Brian Winn, Head of the National Innovation Centre, said: “This collaboration between Frazer-Nash, Ambulance paramedics and clinicians is harnessing the energy and expertise of a range of different specialists. We are looking forward to some very exciting concepts!”

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