A Rotherham-based medical device company which helped an A&E nurse to realise the potential in her idea to administer potentially life-saving treatment has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

The award was secured by Marsden in recognition of the work the company has undertaken in developing a unique Patient Transfer Scale, which is used to provide accurate weight measurements when a patient is admitted to hospital. Launched in 2018, today, the Marsden Patient Transfer Scale is used in 65% of all NHS Trusts across the UK and also sold worldwide.

The innovative product was developed when a nurse called Gillian Taylor witnessed first-hand the discomfort and delays to treatment caused when medical staff attempted to weigh immobile patients using traditional hoists.

When a patient suffers a stroke or is diagnosed with sepsis it is vital for medication to be administered as quickly as possible. However, before treatment can begin a patient must be weighed to identify the correct dosage required. It was recognised that cumbersome hoists could lead to delays in the time taken for a patient to receive treatment. Drawing on her nursing expertise, Gillian was determined to do something to try and solve the problem.

NICE Guidelines require every patient to be weighed when they are admitted to hospital and reviewed regularly during treatment. Gillian hit on hit on the idea of combining a weighing device with a patient transfer board, used when moving a patient from a trolley to a hospital bed after looking at the thin weighing scales she used in her kitchen.

After developing a prototype of the invention, Marsden was approached for help in realising the potential offered by the unique product which enables accurate weight readings to be taken within a matter a seconds, helping to reduce delays in life-saving medication being administered.

Marsden refined the design and secured the vital Class III certification, enabling the product to be sold in NHS and EU hospitals. Today, the Patient Transfer Scale can weigh patients up to 250kg (39 stone) and provides accurate readings up to 500g and following its launch, the invention is today being sold around the world.

Gillian Taylor, Clinical Consultant and inventor of the Patient Transfer Scale said:

“As a nurse I realised when it came to treating conditions like strokes and sepsis, every second really does count and there was clear need to weigh patients quickly to enable treatment to begin as promptly as possible.

“When patients are admitted to hospital, getting accurate weight measurements is vital because it determines the amount of medication needed. I first began thinking about this when I saw my young son and one of his friends playing together. Under the guidelines of the time, the medication prescribed to children was based upon formulas, determined by their age. It struck me that there was such a significant difference in the height and weight of the two children that it could potentially lead to incorrect dosages being administered and so I began thinking about ways in which patients could be weighed quickly and more effectively.

“I looked at my kitchen scales and had something of a lightbulb moment. During my research, I began to realise the invention could have other practical uses within a hospital and after developing a prototype we approached Marsden, to see whether they could help transform the idea into a product capable of saving lives.

“The support I’ve received from Marsden has been incredible and I feel incredibly proud that as a result of all our collaborative efforts, the scales I imagined are now being used to help patients across the world. I’ve been amazed by the positive reaction and I feel incredibly honoured that our work has been recognised by the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.”

Mark Holdaway, Chief Executive Officer, Marsden, said:

“Marsden has a long history of innovation in the healthcare sector and when we were approached with the original idea, we knew it could potentially be a product which would change the way in which patients were treated across the world.

“We felt the Patient Transfer Scale could act as a catalyst towards driving positive change within a healthcare environment. The need for healthcare professionals to obtain accurate weights is not only vital when it comes to delivering appropriate care, but helps to eliminate the guessing of patient weights in cases where traditional hoists cannot be used.

“The invention is a genuine first for the healthcare industry and a product which will clearly help to save lives, abide with NICE guidelines and ensure better patient outcomes are achieved. The success the product has enjoyed is a testament to the hard work, determination and passion which has driven the development of the product, one which was borne from the idea of an experienced nurse, who understood the challenges and limitations of existing solutions and was determined to do something about it. I’m thrilled that our collective work has resulted in a Queen’s Award, but of course, we’re keen not to rest on our laurels and we hope to ensure that even more hospitals and healthcare providers will be able to benefit from this truly unique product.”

Now in its 55th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country, with winning businesses able to use the esteemed Queen’s Awards emblem for the next five years.

Established in 1926, Marsden specialises in producing a range of bespoke weighing solutions to the healthcare, veterinary and industrial sectors. In 2001 the company opened a dedicated manufacturing facility within Rotherham and is a member of the UK Weighing Federation and is accredited by SGS Limited.

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