Redcar physios make step-change in equipment design

Physiotherapists in north Yorkshire have teamed up with clinical engineers to design an innovative set of mock stairs.


Left to right: Clinical technologist Tony Alton works on designs with therapy assistant Lynne Flett, clinical lead physio Mhairi Kotch, clinical specialist physio Nicola Hill and innovation scout Stuart Marsden

Members of the physiotherapy team at Redcar Primary Care Hospital, part of South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, worked on the project with colleagues from the medical physics department.

Together they developed a set of exercise stairs that can safely hold a patient’s and member of staff’s weight at the same time.

Mhairi Kotch, the hospital’s clinical lead physiotherapist, said the idea came about after the team searched for steps that could hold the weight of more than one person. Unable to find something suitable, they decided to design their own.

Clinical technologist Tony Alton’s blueprint is for a steel and plywood product, able to hold up to 350kgs (55st 11lb). This is more than double the 140kgs (22st) that most existing wooden models offer as a maximum.

Its platform is longer, wider and stronger than ones on standard models, allowing physios to offer support to patients as they go up or down the steps.

Ms Kotch told Frontline: ‘The medical physics team’s drawings and a specification met all our requirements. The whole process was very easy and we will now get bespoke stairs that give us more space to work with patients.’

Stuart Marsden, the trust’s innovation scout, said: ‘We have had a lot of great ideas from the physiotherapy team and this is just one of several innovations we are working on for them.’

The team is registering the design for the new stairs and plans to produce a prototype model.

Left to right: Specialist physio Pam Marley helps clinical technologist Tony Alton try out the old design

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