14. October 2011 13:00
Bolton-based medical consumables company Vernacare has emphasised the importance of teamwork and partnership for their development of the world’s first pulp wash bowl, which won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2011.
The Vernacare wash bowl (pictured) is used by hospitals in more than 270 NHS Trusts and across the globe for patient care, wound and continence care, hand washing and surface cleaning.
In a study reported in the BMJ, Vernacare’s wash bowls were among a package of measures that led to a 50% fall in cases of C. difficile at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust over 12 months.
Karen Haslam, Chief Executive of Vernacare (pictured, left), praised the company’s team and the clinicians who had helped them to develop and trial the product. “We developed our single-use wash bowl in response to customer demand,” she said. “Nurses told us they were concerned that re-using plastic wash bowls without properly cleaning and drying was a significant infection risk.
Vernacare’s previous pulp products were permeable to warm soapy water, she added. “This was a major challenge that took our in-house team two years of painstaking research and trial and error to overcome.”
Heather Dakin, Senior Nurse Infection Control at Colchester Hospital, said of the product: “Nursing staff found that they had more time for patient care and didn’t have to worry about decontaminating plastic bowls. They also found that wards looked much tidier as the pulp can be stacked on racking provided by Vernacare rather than hanging from lockers or beds collecting dust.”
Vernacare provides single-use pulp products for patient waste management and a macerator for disposal. The products are used in over 90% of UK hospitals and more than 50 countries.
The photo shows Karen Haslam and Maria Sinfield of Royal Bolton Hospital with the Queen’s Award.