Doctors and nurses in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire will soon be using a new face shield developed at the University of Nottingham.
Engineers from the University developed the product to support local healthcare workers on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak.
Face shields are part of the government’s recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) for coronavirus, providing protection to the eyes and face against contamination.
Local healthcare commissioners, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, approached the University to develop a prototype of the product that could meet current demand for supplies. The CCG has already ordered 5000 of the face shields and plans to order more units as needed.
‘Critical’ design features
The face shield comprises a 3D-printed headband, laser-cut visor (with anti-fog coating) and adjustable strap. The reusable design is a vital feature that helps to keep staff safe over a longer period as well as prevents the virus spreading. The design also incorporates a cover at the top of the face shield which prevents fluid from entering the eyes from above – deemed critical by healthcare professionals.
Volunteer drivers delivering the supplies
The prototype face shield was recently certified by BSI, the UK’s national standards body. And now teams of volunteer drivers will be delivering supplies of the facemask to GP practices across the city and county from this week.
Dr James Hopkinson, Local GP and Joint Clinical Chair of NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, said: “We are extremely grateful to the University of Nottingham for developing and supplying the visors which will make a real difference to thousands of healthcare staff working on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak. We also have plans in place to share the face shields with a range of other keyworkers such as people who care for others at home.
“I think this is a really positive example of talented professionals working across normal boundaries in order to support our local communities in what is an unprecedented and very challenging time.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the teams of volunteer drivers working to deliver thousands of the masks across the county.”
Professor Richard Hague, Director of the Centre for Additive Manufacturing, said: “Our primary goal was to ensure that we delivered a PPE solution that was safe and certified so that healthcare workers can have confidence in the equipment they’re using. Using the latest 3D printing and laser cutting technology, we’ve been able to arrive at a design, get it tested and approved, and then manufactured and delivered in a very quick timeframe.
“We have also had incredible support from our collaborators in getting these face shields to the NHS – the teamwork and willingness of people to help has been truly heart-warming and we are all extremely proud to be able to contribute to the nation’s fight against coronavirus.”
A range of local partners were involved in development and manufacturing of the product including Nottingham Trent University, Prime Group and Matsuura UK.
*Image by University of Nottingham