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MedTech Company Looks to Solve NHS' Clinical Waste and Plastic Problem

MedTech Company Looks to Solve NHS' Clinical Waste and Plastic Problem
14 April 2022
 

A British MedTech company is helping the NHS to reduce CO2 emissions in its clinical waste disposal by 95 per cent.

It is hoped that this will save tens of millions of pounds in clinical waste destruction, help to drive more recycling and prevent needle stick injuries.   

NeedleSmart, through the NHS Supply Chain innovation route, is driving the campaign forward to minimise single-use plastics and associated packaging through its new product, the NS PRO.

The technology is being pioneered in a partnership with the Innovation Centre at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and piloted with a number of NHS trusts across England.

 

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Picture: a photograph of NeedleSmart CEO Cliff Kirby. Image Credit: Needlesmart

 

Clinical Waste Disposal Reduction

 

The NS PRO destroys a used hypodermic needle in a sealed chamber in just six seconds. The device heats the needles inserted into the chamber to 1,300 degrees celsius, which will kill potentially harmful pathogens, viruses and bacteria adhering to the needle.

Within seconds, the needle is compressed into a tiny cold ball and released from the NS PRO device as a safe sphere of metal at the tip of the syringe. 

This not only safely destroys the needles, converting them into safe clinical waste and allowing for recycling, but also hugely decreases the amount and level of clinical waste disposal. Previously, the entire needle would have had to be disposed into a plastic sharps box.

Now the clinical waste can be split into two parts, with the molten metal ball part of the clinical waste recycled as safe waste and the plastics recycled into the system.

This could represent a huge advancement for the NHS, which is one of the UK’s biggest producers of carbon, in reducing its emissions and recycling its clinical waste.

NeedleSmart has recently achieved FDA approval as a Class II medical device, making it the first UK company to achieve FDA 510(k) approval (Class II for Sharps Needle Destruction Device (NDD).

 

Watch the Video

 


 

 

 

Plastic Packaging Levy

 

As of 1 April 2022, and as part of the government’s recycling policies, all plastic packaging must contain 30 per cent recycled material or be subject to a levy of £200 per tonne.

Innovations such as the NS PRO, which looks to offer a viable alternative to single-use sharps bins through recycled cardboard clinical waste boxes, could present a real reduction opportunity in this tax levy to the NHS. 

 

Application in COVID-19 Vaccines Would Have Saved 15,132 Tonnes of CO2 Annually

 

As of 5 January 2022, the global COVID-19 vaccinations programme had delivered 134 million vaccinations in the United Kingdom, 513 million in the USA and 1.4 billion in India.

In the UK alone, the company says that using the NeedleSmart technology purely in relation to the vaccination programme would have saved the NHS 15,132 tonnes of CO2 annually. This is equivalent to 15,000 flights from London to New York or 66 million miles in a family car.

 

“The partnership between Alder Hey Innovation Centre and NeedleSmart has a common purpose to innovate and disrupt. One of the biggest safety concerns for us across the NHS is needlestick injuries. So, we are excited to see how the technology can not only reduce those injuries but also eliminate them altogether.”

–Claire Liddy

Managing Director of Innovation, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

 

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

 

Claire Liddy, Managing Director of Innovation at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said of the partnership: “At Alder Hey, we have been innovating for the past 100 years. We want to ensure that we are always standing at the leading edge of clinical innovation, sustainability and the green tech space. 

“The technology presents lots of opportunities for us to also reduce waste and carbon, which is a huge agenda for the NHS and Alder Hey as part of the NHS Carbon Reduction programme. We really want to be a hospital that is pioneering in the space of green tech. We think the NHS has a long way to go in the clean, green agenda, but we see the relationship between Alder Hey and NeedleSmart as being a great platform to achieve this as we work towards carbon net-zero. 

“The partnership between Alder Hey Innovation Centre and NeedleSmart has a common purpose to innovate and disrupt. One of the biggest safety concerns for us across the NHS is needlestick injuries. So, we are excited to see how the technology can not only reduce those injuries but also eliminate them altogether.”

Picture: a photograph of a gloved hand placing a needle in a syringe into a small bin-like object. Image Credit: Needlesmart

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 14 April 2022

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