Although its name may indicate otherwise, GBUK Banana, a division of GBUK Group, has nothing to do with bananas at all. A ‘Banana Board’ is used world-wide to allow wheelchair users to move from one position to another, for example a wheelchair to a car. The Banana Team, in collaboration with Diane Hindson from County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, has developed a system in ‘Versal’ which undoubtedly provides a fruitful solution for improving safety in patient movement and handling – and has also won a Queen’s Award for Innovation.
Moving a patient is a daily requirement in healthcare. Most, if not all the effort required to move the patient comes from the carers, with patients having little or limited ability to assist them.
GBUK Banana’s Versal system helps reduce the hidden costs of pressure ulcers and musculoskeletal injury. Pressure ulcers can be life-threatening to patients, while leading to several disabilities and infections, as well as extended hospital stays. The NHS spends an estimated £1.3b annually on hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, moreover litigation costs in the NHS reached over £1b last year – reducing pressure ulcers by just 1% would help save over £13m.
During a typical day, medical staff transfer and reposition around ten to twenty patients from bed or trolley to another bed. According to the Health and Safety Executive, the maximum recommended weight for this manouvere is 16kg for women and 25kg for men. However, patients typically weigh in excess of 55kg, which is above the weight that would be considered safe. Therefore, lifting and transferring patients increases the risk of back injury among carers.
GBUK Banana’s Versal system helps reduce the user’s risk of error and protects both the patient and staff from injury. The technology improves patient safety by ensuring that all bony prominences of the patient are protected by two layers of slide sheet. This increases patient comfort, reduces nursing time and supports efficiency of care. Another advantage of the system is that just one design of slide sheet can be used in every clinical situation. This reduces strain on the career, simplifies training requirements and helps ensure universal compliance by its multi-purpose use.
The effectiveness of the Versal technology was shown in one of the case studies. After a year of using the Versal system, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust reported a 29% reduction in pressure ulcers, as well as improvement of care and nursing time as a result of the simplicity of the device.
The GBUK Group currently supplies every NHS trust in the UK and GBUK Banana also offers a solution for home and community care providers with its On-Bed Repositioning Kit making caring safer and easier.
GBUK Banana now sells in total £2m of single patient use slide sheets in the UK alone (including Versal), with a market share of just over 50%, making the company the market leaders in this field. Versal has been a key innovation for GBUK Banana, and has taken considerable investment in time and resources for the organisation.
Mark Thompson, CEO of GBUK Group, said: “This award is the culmination of many years of hard work by the GBUK team. “The Queen’s Award is an internationally recognised accolade, and it an honour for us to be selected by Her Majesty The Queen in the Innovation Category. The award also gives me a chance to thank the whole of our exceptional team – who have been pivotal in improving patient care by bringing our leading technology to market.”