Local firms step up to make vital part missing from Stoke Mandeville Hospital ventilators

Two local firms came to the rescue after a call out from Stoke Mandeville Hospital last week as engineers were needed to help make a vital part connecting ventilators to their oxygen supplies.

By Thomas Bamford
Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 11:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 11:36 am
(L-R) Jane Ramplin, Neil Morgan of Good Fabs and Dr Nicky Hansen anaesthetist and ITU frontline Covid-19 staff at Stoke Mandeville Hospital
(L-R) Jane Ramplin, Neil Morgan of Good Fabs and Dr Nicky Hansen anaesthetist and ITU frontline Covid-19 staff at Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Precision engineering companies Good Fabs (based in Long Crendon) and Cavey Laboratories have come together to create a small, but life-saving link for those battling Covid-19.

The two companies rushed to the aid of Bucks Healthcare Trust to go into emergency production of a small but vital connector which joins ventilators to hospitals’ oxygen supplies.

With supply chains stretched to breaking point by the current Covid-19 emergency, Bucks Healthcare Trust had managed to source much-needed intensive care ventilators but was dismayed to find the connectors to attach to the oxygen supply were missing, making them useless.

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When attempts to contact the manufacturer to get the vital connectors failed, the race was on to find a way around the problem.

Cardiologist, and Chair of Medical Procurement at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Dr Andrew Money-Kyrle said it was a critical situation with patients needing ventilators to help them battle the virus, but the hospital had no way to connect its new ventilators to the oxygen system.

Dr Money- Kyrle said: “At times like this, it seems miracles can happen. One of our volunteers, Jane Rampin of Resilience Health, put us in touch with the Neil Morgan, Managing Director of Good Fabs, which makes high- performance exhaust systems for Formula 1 cars and he leapt at the chance to help."

The Trust’s head of Clinical Engineering, Stephen Squire then sent the only connector they had to Good Fabs’ Thame workshop.

Mr Squire said Neil Morgan’s ‘can do’ attitude and highly skilled team of engineers and designers swung into action to produce a full set of technical drawings over the weekend.

“Within 12 hours, Good Fabs had designed a prototype connector ready to go into production. At this point, Cavey Laboratories, a Formula 1 partner based in Guildford, were called on to take over the manufacture of the part,” Mr Squire said.

Dr Money-Kyrle said the two companies worked flat out for four days to make the critical valves which were delivered to Stoke Mandeville on Friday, meaning the new ventilators were being used in intensive care wards in time for the expected surge in Covid-19 cases over the Easter weekend.

“Our staff and clinicians are working round the clock to care for our community and battle this virus. This weekend, some of our wider community pulled together to help us,” Dr Money- Kyrle said.