Medical Devices and Diagnostics
2010 Finalists

David Swann from University of Huddersfield was a finalist with ‘NHS at Home: 21st Century Community Matron’s bag’ in the Medical Devices and Diagnostics Category.


The devolution of healthcare treatments into the community continues to gain momentum (DoH, 2010-2015: from good to great; CBI, Best of Health, 2010; Burham, NHS Care at Home, Feb 2010).To support this paradigm shift, a dedicated community matron's bag is desirable to meet rising patient expectations, enable service consistency and quality and to ensure patient safety, as well as, enhancing a clinicians' productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

Present community services are characterised by improvisation and inconsistency, as no dedicated products exist to support clinicians working in this challenging environment. Evidence suggests that these practices are widespread (validated by data gathered from community matrons from NHS Cornwall & Scilly Isles). Furthermore, the common practice of using sterile wound dressing packs to establish an aseptic field in the home contributes significantly to the NHS's carbon footprint related to procurement.

The government has a strategic aim to deliver world-class public services through transformation change and for our experience of public services to match the very best delivered in the private sector. This product contributes to this ambition.  This product has been designed by the primary applicant and is the culmination of an exhaustive and inclusive innovation process that has yielded an unique and much needed healthcare product.

Bipin Bhakta from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust was a finalist with his ‘Development of computer technology to assist children with cerebral palsy to undertake arm exercises within their own home’.


The system (HB-RES) assists children with cerebral palsy (CP) to participate in independent fun home arm exercises through an engaging exercise environment and physical guidance we developed the system with the help of disabled children. It has three aspects (a) exercises are presented through engaging computer games to aid motivation; (b) provision of robotic assistance via the powered joystick, which enables children with greater levels of disability to participate in arm exercise without the physical assistance of a therapist; (c) affordable design, enabling the system to be used widely within health, school and home settings. 

The system is not intended as a substitute for conventional therapy, rather to supplement exiting treatments, by enabling therapist to prescribe individualised game-exercises between formal therapy sessions. My role was supervision/project management and original device idea from seeing children in the paediatric mobility clinic

A feasibility study to evaluate HB-RES has been undertaken with 18 children with CP (medial age 7.5 years, range 6-15) being recruited to the study from local hospitals.  This study suggested that the device could be used to augment home-based arm exercise in an engaging way for children with Cerebral Palsy. (COREC 06/01205/84 NIHR NEAT-G006).

Jonathan Ross from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was a finalist with the ‘Clinical Waste-Streaming at point-of-use’- a new machine; a new system; a new psychology.


Clinical waste (some extremely hazardous e.g. Hepatitis C virus contaminated) is generated in unergonomic and time-pressured areas, and therefore fairly difficult to differentiate and dispose of. Currently, the mess is loosely bundled up and stuffed in one bin as there are no convenient waste streaming facilities. It consists of admixed paper, cardboard and plastics; blood and human tissue/ waste. Sharps, metals and waste pharmaceuticals are put in sharps bins. As a rule, waste is disposed of in the ‘safest’ (most expensive) route possible, for safety purposes. That’s incineration, then autoclaving, then household. 

‘Household waste’ is disposed of at around £100 per tonne, bagged; ‘Clinical waste’ is disposed of at £350 per tonne; ‘Sharps bins’ cost an eye-watering incineration price of £1100+ per tonne.

The team members have researched and designed a new cost-effective compacting and streaming trolley system to segregate waste efficiently at point-of-use by the operator. The device is robust, unpowered, portable, easily emptied, hygienic and cleanable. It utilises current waste bags; adds very little extra waste to that generated; complies with H&SE guidelines; is engineered to be psychologically conducive to adoption and use; is lightweight and ergonomic to use and has been hazard-engineered to reduce maximally any potential harm. It’s been developed with Developing World healthcare systems in mind also. The operator-segregated, compacted waste is taken from the trolley to a central collection point for processing.

Zoë Robertson from Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust as a finalist with the innovation SPECS – Speech-Driven Environmental Control System.


SPECS is specifically designed for individuals with severe physical disability and dysarthric (highly variable disordered) speech. Environmental control systems enable people with physical disabilities to access things in their immediate environment, for example controlling their television, answering the phone etc. The effect on independence provided by such systems can be profound.

The majority of current environmental control systems are controlled via a single switch. Although this provides a way for people to access these devices it can be slow, tiring and frustrating for the user. With SPECS the input method is speech and so this provides a potentially quicker, less frustrating access method for some people with severe physical disabilities. Speech-driven environmental control systems do exist, however they are not widely prescribed and we investigated reasons for this when undertaking the initial development work for SPECS. A key reason identified was reliability and in developing SPECS we have focused on high reliability. Furthermore a high proportion of people who use environmental control systems have dysarthric (disordered) speech. Therefore in developing SPECS emphasis has been put on the speech recognition being able to cope with highly variable dysarthric speech. The techniques we have developed have proved very successful and have produced better recognition rates for severely dysarthric speech than any previously published in the international research literature. The joint team from Barnsley Hospital and University of Sheffield came up with the initial idea, developed new speech recognition methods and developed the software for the SPECS device. Our industrial collaborators, Toby Churchill Ltd and Elpedium Technologies developed the hardware platform and peripherals. We have heavily involved potential users of the device throughout this user-centred research, design and development process to produce a device that is acceptable to, and usable by disabled people.