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Knowle West entrepreneur to supply free emergency medical devices to NHS

By ellie pipe, Tuesday May 12, 2020

A pioneering design developed in a Knowle West garage could soon be used in NHS hospitals across the UK.

Simon Hall came up with the idea for a novel airway suction device while working as a medical engineer and went on to found not-for-profit firm Airway Medical to make the concept a reality.

The coronavirus pandemic prompted the entrepreneur to think about how he could simplify the design to help with the request for medical equipment and he has now raised more than £10,000 to create 1,000 3D print versions of the devices to be supplied to the NHS free of charge.

The apparatus clears blocked airways and can be used on pre-ITU covid-19 patients as a backup in case the hospital’s primary system fails.

Hall says if the units, known as CAMSU, allow just one patient to return home, it will be worth all the hours spent on the project.

“Airway suction is a vital part of pre-ITU care for covid-19 and can improve outcomes to prevent the patient having to go into ITU (intensive treatment unit),” explains the engineer, who quit his job in June 2019 to work on the project full-time.

“Our next task is to finalise the design detail. The photos show a rough and ready but working prototype. It’s a proper old-fashioned inspirational moment that became a garage workbench project, that will now become a completely new, global medical device.

“The device is going to have something called ‘Graphene tm’ impregnated into it. Graphene kills all virus and bacteria, including Covid-19, when it comes into contact and it will be the first time it has been used in a medical device ever.”

Hall says hitting the fundraising target will enable his team to buy the necessary material for the equipment. He has had support from organisations, including Business West, Outset and the Health Tec Hub at UWE Bristol, to develop the business model and a team at the University of Portsmouth are working to refine the prototype to be as small and efficient as possible.

Submission of the design to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency for fast track approval is underway and once this is in place, Airway Medical Ltd will be able to supply the NHS directly.

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Main photo courtesy of Simon Hall

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