New bug-busting chair at hospital

A HIGH-tech porter's chair is helping medics battle against superbugs today.

A HIGH-tech porter's chair is helping medics battle against superbugs today.

The specially designed chair was produced in Suffolk as part of a drive to create ultra-hygienic hospital furniture.

The designers, at Framlingham-based Minima Design, spent time with nurses, porters and other healthcare staff at Ipswich Hospital, discovering how the chair could help beat infections like MRSA and C-diff.

It was part of the Design Bugs Out initiative, a joint venture between the Department of Health and the Design Council.

Alastair Kingsland, design director at Minima, said: “The porter's chair posed a unique challenge as it travels all over the hospital - inside and out - and is subject to a high degree of wear and tear.

“It is used by porters, patients, nurses, and visitors so the design needed to incorporate a way of keeping the chair clean to help fight the spread of hospital acquired infections.”

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After studying the vulnerable areas designers changed the chair's footrest, so it rests on the floor but raises as the patient's weight is applied to the seat, so there is no need for anyone to put hands where patients place their feet.

Meanwhile the surfaces of the chair are smooth and easy to clean and any joins are positioned carefully to reduce the risk of trapping harmful bacteria.

The new design incorporates storage space for gas bottles and patient documents and a flat base under the seat provides a storage area for the patient's belongings.

The design also uses light-coloured materials which help show patients that it is clean. Antibacterial wipes fit into a holder on the chair, to encourage frequent cleaning.

Does more need to be done to tackle infections in hospitals? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.