Revolutionary tech gets a handle on infection control

Revolutionary new technology developed in the Leeds City Region could dramatically reduce the number of healthcare-related infections in the UK.

First developed at the Leeds-based Nonwovens Innovation and Research Institute Ltd (NIRI), Surfaceskins are antibacterial push pads and pull handles for doors which combat cross contamination and boost infection control. They break the chain of infection which can happen between someone washing their hands then opening a door with a contaminated handle.

Each time a Surfaceskins pad is pushed when a door is opened the pad self-disinfects releasing a small quantity of antibacterial solution via the micro-valved top sheet.

It kills germs such as MRSA, E.Coli and Norovirus all within those crucial few moments you pass through a door, reducing the risk of cross infection between one user and the next.

Chris Fowler, NIRI managing director, said: “NHS England statistics show that between four and nine thousand people die each year from healthcare-related infections. Our overarching aim is to have a positive impact on the health care sector, so with 80% of health care infections stemming from touch and our hands, we believe this technology could make a huge difference.”

The NHS will be trialling the pads at the Leeds General Infirmary after NHS laboratory studies showed that Surfaceskins pads effectively disinfect themselves after being purposefully contaminated.

The company has also experienced interest in the technology from several private hospital chains including Bupa, three top fast food chains including Subway, and a cruise ship provider. But the opportunities for infection control using Surfaceskins are endless; from the hospitality industry and offices to leisure complexes and factory floors.

Sufaceskins is a joint venture between technical textile specialists NIRI in Leeds and two designers from Zelo Creative and Lensnectar also based in the region.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), commented: “It’s very exciting that another product developed in Leeds looks set to have a revolutionary impact across the UK and beyond. This joint venture adds to the long list of successful collaborations and highlights how Leeds City Region is a hotbed for developing medical solutions.

“There is a strong track record of businesses in Leeds City Region benefitting from proximity to the NHS eco-system and it is yielding impressive results. This is the perfect place to develop and trial innovation.”