Plastic hooks safety and MRSA threat

Tom Shelley explains how complex metal stands with hooks and clips made of plastic brings a host of advantages

Tom Shelley explains how complex metal stands with hooks and clips made of plastic brings a host of advantages

A family of plastic hooks invented by an NHS nurse will do much to avoid accidents on hospital wards as well as reducing risks from MRSA and other infections.

John Edwards, a senior staff nurse working for the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital Trust at New Cross Hospital came up with the idea to reduce the inconvenience and hazards posed by the stands normally used to support intravenous drip bags and catheters. The optimal material selected in a RAPRA report commissioned by the R&D department of the hospital was pulysulphone.

The hooks come in three forms. J-Hooks can be used to suspend intravenous and fluid bags from the curtain rails fitted around a hospital bed. They can also be dropped into special wall brackets that are designed to ease cleaning and avoid trapping dirt. B-Hooks fit on the head of the bed frame to carry fluid bags when transporting patients on beds. C-Hooks may be used to suspend intravenous and fluid bags from the rails of a hospital bed.

RAPRA concluded that the material chosen could withstand autoclaving to a temperature of 135 deg C without stretching and could support weights of up to 10kg without breaking. The material also tolerates cleaning chemicals. The grade of material from which the hooks are actually made is 'Ultrason S3010' made by BASF. The hooks can be fully sterilised up to 100 times.

Other advantages of the clips over metal stands include the space they free up round patient's beds. They avoid the risk of tripping or falling over drip and catheter stands and also the risk of such stands injuring staff, patients or visitors by falling on them. They can easily be cleaned with soap and water as well as sterilised and even more easily be moved from one area to another without the risk of transferring infection. Transferring bed-ridden patients is safer as IV and/or catheter bags can now be safely hooked to the bed. And last but not least, they are a fraction of the cost of the metal stands.

The devices are available from the NHS Logistic Authority and from Medical Devices Technology International in Great Barr, Birmingham. The company was established in 2003 with the support of the NHS to unlock the value of patented medical device technology originating in NHS Hospitals Trusts and those allied to them. The Hooks are made by Maxell Moulding Services in Telford. They were brought to Eureka's attention at the recently held MDT show.

There are doubtless not a few other instances where money can be saved and hygiene improved by switching from complex products made in metal to simple products with smooth surfaces and no crevices made of plastic.

Medical Devices Technology International
BASF Plastics
Maxell Moulding Services


* Replacing metal stands with plastic clips saves money, greatly reduces the risk of accidents and improves hygiene

* The polysulphone used is more than strong enough for the task and the parts can be sterilised up to 100 times.

Tom Shelley

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