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Disposable female urinal producer wins award

Vernacare : 05 November, 2013  (New Product)
A clinical innovation award has been bestowed upon Vernacare for the company's disposable urinal for continence care of female patients
Disposable female urinal producer wins award

Infection prevention products manufacturer Vernacare has won a prestigious healthcare award for innovation.

The Bolton-based company has received the Innovation Clinical Award in the Excellence in Supply Awards 2013 for its work in developing a breakthrough product to improve female continence.

Vernacare has worked in partnership with NHS Trusts to develop the new VernaFem disposable female urinal, which is a  safe, dignified and cost-saving method of continence care for immobile female patients.

In response to huge global demand, Vernacare developed VernaFem as a more  hygienic, convenient and  comfortable option than other traditional methods of continence care.  The product's ergonomic design empowers patients to use the device themselves, with little or no assistance from healthcare staff. This releases nursing time to focus on other areas of patient care.

Judges recognised that the innovative VernaFem product provides a practical and simple alternative to catheters, bedpans and plastic urinals.  As a single-use product it can reduce the infection risk of traditional methods of continence care.

Awards organiser North West Procurement Development was seeking best practice examples of collaboration with healthcare providers in new product development and innovation.

Vernacare has worked with NHS Trusts across the UK to develop the product.  Prototypes were tested at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust's advanced Lancashire Simulation Centre, which provided a realistic clinical environment. Other Trusts,  including Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, have also been key partners. They helped to conceive the product during the specification phase and to assist with extensive patient and staff evaluation prior to market launch.

Emma Sheldon,  Global Marketing Director for Vernacare, said: "We are delighted to win this prestigious innovation award, which celebrates the strong spirit of collaboration between the NHS and industry in bringing next generation medical products to fruition."

She added: "We have had tremendous support from NHS Trusts  throughout our product research, development and clinical evaluation stages, which has helped us to perfect VernaFem. It has given us a clearer appreciation of  the benefits to customers - both in  clinical and cost saving terms. We are committed to strengthening this valuable partnership in bringing forward new and innovative products in our development pipeline."

The product is made from pulp in Vernacare's UK production facility.  As such, it can be disposed of sustainably using pulp disposal units, also manufactured by Vernacare. By using this hygienic disposal method, hospitals can also improve their environmental performance since the waste pulp washes away down the drains using a cold water process.

Healthcare Acquired Infections (HCAI) are estimated to cost the NHS £1bn annually, while Catheter Associated Unirinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) are estimated to cost £1,122 per patient. This financial imperative, together with the primary need to promote patient safety and offer patient choice were major drivers in the development of VernaFem.

Vernacare won The Queen's Award for Enterprise and Innovation in 2011 for its pioneering disposable wash bowl, which was a world first.

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