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Machines inspired by Queen’s Hospital cancer boss make chemo more comfortable

PUBLISHED: 12:50 14 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:24 14 August 2017

Sheena Jack, Green Cross Medico's marketing director, using the machine with Nikki Akar, BHRUT's lead chemotherapy nurse. Picture: Claire Stills/BHRUT

Sheena Jack, Green Cross Medico's marketing director, using the machine with Nikki Akar, BHRUT's lead chemotherapy nurse. Picture: Claire Stills/BHRUT

Claire Stills/BHRUT

Cancer patients across the borough are benefiting from a new machine designed to make their treatment more comfortable.

Three new “airglove” machines were delivered to Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust (BHRUT) last week.

The machines work by making it easier to access chemotherapy patients’ veins, and the original concept for the device was designed by the trust’s divisional manager for cancer, Paula Tinniswood, around 10 years
ago.

She said: “As they go through their course of chemotherapy, patients’ veins become harder to access and it can be painful and uncomfortable for them.

“I was the general manager for cancer at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust when I saw my friend’s mum having to lean over to put her arm in warm water to help dilate her veins and I just thought, no more, there must be a better way.”

Staff at BHRUT haven’t needed to resort to that, instead they use heating pads – the airglove machine – to make the process much quicker.

The machine is named after the plastic glove that patients place their hand into. It takes just minutes to warm up a patient’s arm ready for cannulation – the process of inserting a needle into the arm to administer the chemotherapy drugs. Costing £700 each, the machines were presented to Mary Quigley, consultant clinical oncologist, by Giovanni Benedetti on the Sunflower Suite – where patients receive chemotherapy, at Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford.

Giovanni owns the company, Green Cross Medico, which manufactured the machines, using Paula’s initial idea.

Paula continued: “This will help us to improve patient care and provide more comfort for those receiving chemotherapy.

“Although they don’t look
much like what I designed now,
it was lovely to see something from my original concept coming into our hospitals.”

In 2010, Paul won an NHS innovator award for her idea. She was then put in touch with Giovanni’s company and worked with him to bring the idea to fruition.

The machines are now available for sale globally and will go towards improving care for cancer patients across the world.

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