It’s easy access means loading patients’ cabinets with medicines, a daily task for me, now takes 15 minutes rather than two hours.

Sagal Hashi, University College London Hospital

The Design Challenge

As part of the Design Bugs Out Design Challenge manufacturers Bristol Maid and designers Kinneir Dufort teamed up to create a radically new bedside cabinet with wipe-clean polymers instead of wood and metal, so it’s easier to clean and helps stop bacteria spreading.

The problem

Infections such as MRSA kill around 5,000 people a year and cost the NHS £1bn, says the National Audit Office. Hospital furniture doesn’t help — germs hide in hard-to-reach corners, keyholes and moving parts. The bedside cabinet was identified by experts, through the Design Bugs Out challenge, as one of 11 products most in need of redesign.

The solution

Clean lines and ample storage make it attractive to patients, electronic locks mean that there are no keys to lose and no keyholes to trap dirt. Not only did it mean that desired cleanliness levels were hard to reach, but significant staff time was spent cleaning when they would otherwise be helping patients.

So far Bristol Maid has sold 3,000 cabinets in the UK and more overseas since it launched in 2011. The bedside cabinet is part of a new Easy Clean range that’s so far racked up over £2m turnover. The company sees potential in Europe, and aims to open up markets outside the UK by building on partnerships with NHS teams that were formed during the Design Challenge.

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