Smooth move by Darlington nurse leads to Queen’s Award

Diane Hindson pictured pre social distancing guidance, with a Versal slide sheet and colleagues at Darlington Memorial Hospital.
Diane Hindson (right) pictured pre social distancing guidance, with a Versal slide sheet and colleagues at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

A slide sheet designed by a Darlington nurse, which helps move patients in safety and comfort, has been awarded a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020, in the Innovation category. 

The Versal slide sheet was designed by Diane Hindson, a member of the back care team at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Diane explains, “Moving patients with limited or no mobility of their own can be difficult and one of the best ways to do it, while protecting yourself from potential injury, is by using a slide sheet.

“This is positioned underneath the patient, however, there are different slide sheets for various situations and I realised that it wasn’t always clear to colleagues which one to use, for instance, when turning a patient or when transferring them from a trolley to a bed. 

“Using an inappropriate sheet is potentially risky.  So, I set about trying to design a single slide sheet that could be used in every situation, removing the uncertainty.

“I’ve always enjoyed sewing and am quite innovative, so I got my sewing machine out and after several designs, we found one that worked.  The Trust were very supportive and, once we’d had a supply manufactured, began using it very quickly. 

“When it was marketed there was a lot of interest from other Trusts and healthcare providers across the UK. The trust’s commitment to encouraging innovation amongst staff meant I shared the royalties.

“We initially called it the ReDi slide – an amalgamation of the colour of the original slide, red, and my name.  It was later re-named ‘Versal’, reflecting its versatility. It’s now owned by GBUK Banana, part of GBUK Group in Selby, which specialises in patient moving and handling technology.

“Being responsible for such a useful, successful product that supports both patients and staff has meant a great deal to me, although I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of colleagues and the Trust.  

“For Versal to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise makes me really proud.”

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