Success is in the bag

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:01:00 BST

University of Huddersfield lecturer Dr David Swann’s groundbreaking design for a super-efficient and super-safe treatment bag for mobile health workers is attracting global praise and interest and put him in line for FOUR major awards.  One of them means a date with European royalty and the prospect of a 100,000 Euro prize.

 Dr Swann with the mobile treatment bag

Dr Swann, a subject leader for 3D and Interior Design at the University, carried out a PhD project entitled NHS at Home: Co-designing a 21st Century nursing bag with NHS East Riding of Yorkshire.  The aim was to improve the delivery and experience of care that patients receive in non-hospital settings.  And the result was a special home treatment bag made from one major moulding with the bag’s design optimised to maximise the effectiveness of hand decontamination. The bag is small enough to fit into the boot of a car and can be transformed into a compact treatment space.

The project earned Dr Swann his PhD at the Royal College of Art.  But the project is gaining more and more momentum.  It has been chosen by Innovation RCA as a design with commercial potential and as a result Dr Swann has been nominated for a James Dyson Fellowship, set up and funded by the famed designer and inventor.

Also, he was a finalist in the Conran Foundation Design Award at the RCA and he won the Helen Hamlyn Design Award for Creativity.  On the horizon is the most glittering prize of all – for Dr Swann has been nominated in one of the categories of the globally prestigious Index Design Awards, under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Denmark.

For Dr Swann it means a trip to Copenhagen in September, for a function at the Opera House at which the winners will be announced.  The prize for each category winner will be in the order of 100,000 Euros.

Meanwhile, Lord Darzi, a leading surgeon who is a former health minister and who has been carrying out important strategic research for the NHS, has been “very impressed” and has requested images of the bag for inclusion in his presentations on hospital-acquired infections.

After some fine tuning, says Dr Swann, the bag is ready for commercial development – he has already made presentations to major potential backers – and in tests it has proved to deliver higher productivity and patient safety performance.

Now it is time for the next design challenge.  Thanks to his high-level contacts, it will also be in the global health field and Dr Swann is laying the foundations for a University of Huddersfield-based research project that will help to bring about safer injections in the developing world.

Open, the bag becomes a stable, flat surface with drawers to hold vital equipment

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