2012 Medical Devices and
Diagnostics Winner and Finalists

The winner in the Medical Devices and Diagnostics category supported by MDTi Ltd was Rachel Bennett, an Advanced Occupational Therapist at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust for her ‘Support harness for a tracheostomy tube’. 


Rachel has developed a way of securing tracheostomy tubes on babies and young children to prevent decannulation and damage to the stoma. These complications lead to distress to the child and parent, additional anaesthetic and a longer stay in the critical care unit.  Her solution is to provide a more stable method of support for the tube to work with the tapes, limiting movement and pull. Traditional walking reins have been adapted to provide a firm external anchorage point for the tube around the sternum. Any pull on the tube is strongest at this point and significantly reduced at the stoma. A secure tube reduces the number of staff needed to transfer hoist-dependent older children.

The impact of the innovation has been a reduction in the number of accidental decannulations, sore necks and over-granulation of the tracheostomy stoma for mobile patients requiring long-term ventilation.  Patients are more mobile, enabling them to develop and reach their expected milestones and carers are not worrying about accidental decannulation.

The other finalists in the Medical Devices and Diagnostics category were Dr. Gin Jose from the University of Leeds, Dr. Nin Bajaj from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Matthew Tulley from Single Use Surgical Ltd and Martin Stone from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Gin Jose a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Leeds and he and his team have developed a non-invasive glucose-sensing technology.  Continuous monitoring of glucose levels with reduced ambiguity and minimal distress is vitally important for the efficient management of diabetes. Glucose is currently measured by finger-pricking and squeezing a drop of blood onto a test strip for measurement using a meter. Disadvantages include its high consumable cost, inconvenience and unsuitability for continuous monitoring.


The new glucose-sensing concept that he and his team have developed is a sensor, comprising a nanophotonic device activated by low-power laser, which does not require finger-pricking. They have developed a non-invasive, multi-wavelength fluorescence, lifetime-based measurement concept which has the potential to be a patient-friendly, compact and wearable device valuable in the diagnosis and monitoring of several diseases, including diabetes.  The technology could enable continuous monitoring and generate a patient-specific glucose profile, enabling efficient treatment and self-monitoring and allowing new methodologies in diabetic management and tele-health implementation.

Dr Nin Bajaj is a Consultant Neurologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and he has his team have developed an Automated diagnostic blood test for Alzheimer dementia.


They have identified proteins and genes that can reliably diagnose AD on a blood test (biomarkers) and by 2013 will have developed a novel instrument for blood biomarker sampling and detection of biomarkers in complex biological fluids (in this case blood and cerebrospinal fluid) from AD patients.  The developed detection system is label-free, making it well-suited for biomarkers without the need for secondary antibody detection. Protein biomarkers attaching to specific monoclonal antibodies are detected by changes in resonance in a targeted laser beam coupled to our own design of CMOS camera.

A biochemical test that is diagnostic and predictive would help achieve the aim of 85% diagnostic accuracy, allowing early detection and timely drug intervention.  The device is highly portable and could detect other neurodegenerative diseases by simply altering the antibody detection panel.

Matthew Tulley from Single Use Surgical has ween working with a team of ENT consultants at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to develop a Novel suction holder clip for endolaryngeal laser surgery known as the "Sheffield Clip".


Since the introduction of lasers in laryngeal surgery, a number of technological advances have been made in surgical techniques. Evacuation of the smoke during endolaryngeal surgery improves visualisation of the surgical field. Microlaryngoscopes have been adapted for laser use by the addition of smoke evacuation channels on the side of the laryngoscope. Traditional laryngoscope suctions were reusable and fixed to the scope with an expensive screw mechanism. The reusable suctions are difficult to clean, risking cross-infection. Single-use suctions are now recommended, but have not previously been available to fit to a scope. The clip quickly fixes a disposable suction device to the scope and this has been in use at the Royal Hallamshire Hosptial for several months. Other modifications were made to provide a good tube layout for the surgeon that would not obstruct other operating instruments.

The impact of using the device has been:

  • The risk of cross-infection during laser endolaryngeal surgery to over 100 patients per year has been avoided. 
  • Continuous plume evacuation improves surgical accuracy and lessens the spread of viral particles contained within the laser plume down the respiratory tract of the patient or to operating room personnel.
  • Surgical time is reduced.

Mr Martin Stone is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has worked with Peak Medical Ltd to develop PainKwell - An advanced local anaesthetic infusion catheter and pump to reduce pain after surgery.


Previous attempts to develop an infusion catheter for pain relief after joint surgery suffered three problems. First, the functional catheter ends available are too short for the long wounds of hip and knee replacement surgery. Second, many systems require the catheter to be manually topped-up after surgery, taking up nursing time and risking infection, possibly leading to a failed joint replacement. Finally, the catheter has to pass from outside into the interior of the joint, leaving part of the catheter in the new artificial joint and also risking infection.

The new catheter has a longer working area, a local anaesthetic delivery pump not requiring top-up and alterations to the introduction method. This has now been developed and is available on the open market.

The impact of the device has been:

  • Morphine use after surgery has dropped from around 66% of patients to less than 20%, with many requiring only paracetamol to control pain, leading to earlier mobilisation.
  • Using PainKwell may reduce length of hospital stay. 
  • With 170,000 hip and knee replacements in the UK alone per year, the improvement in patient wellbeing and potential cost savings is huge.