During the COVID-19 crisis staff throughout Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB have displayed amazing resilience and adapted to new ways of working.  

Senior chief technologist and dental laboratory manager Jason Ingham and his team looked at creative ideas of how they could contribute to providing a service during COVID-19.

They started using existing 3D printers and scanners, together with PLA printers loaned to the health board from local schools, to produce non-clinical items such as hand free door handles, visor clips, step down correctors, ear protectors and parts for machine cases.      

Working with respiratory colleagues the team worked together to look at the potential to print exhalation ports that were in short supply. Jason and the team were able to reverse engineer the valve into CAD software and design and print a number for immediate use.  

The team’s design has been shared with the Association of Respiratory Technology and Physiology and is now being used elsewhere in the UK. 

Jason said:  “I am delighted that we have been able to produce so many different items that can be used throughout the health board, hopefully this technology will help us expand our services, and deliver patient care in wider capacity.” 

The Cardiff Innovation Accelerator (CIA) at Cardiff University are working in partnership with Jason and the Innovations team to link into the *Accelerate Programme (https://lshubwales.com/accelerate). This will increase the available kit including 3D printers and scanners across the health board, strengthening links to local industry and their expertise.  

Dr Tom Powell, Innovation Lead for the health board, said: “It is important to establish a platform that empowers patients and staff to explore new and innovative way of working that is receptive of ideas, transformation is key to future working within health boards. 

“We envisage creating a space where people irrespective of their role/background will have the opportunity to access enabling technologies that allows rapid prototyping and testing of ideas, be they physical, digital or virtual – an Advanced Digital and Physical Engineering (ADPE) Hub.

“There is often a gap in linking innovative ideas between patients and staff and the technical, industrial and academic know how.  In practical terms this will require establishing spaces within hospitals that will bring together the patient, clinical and working person’s expertise with that of industry and academic partners.“

Barbara Coles, Accelerate Project Manager, said: “CIA are pleased to support Welsh industry through collaborative R&D to engage and bring industry capability into Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB for innovative solutions to rapidly prototype and test ideas from patients and health professionals, building capability and resilience within the NHS alongside Welsh economic development.” 

*Accelerate is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

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