20 April 2020

Raising a #SHIELD around our NHS frontliners


by Jenna Keighley

It’s rare that an agency has an opportunity so early in its life to really put its money where its mouth is. However, when we first put our heads together to decide what kind of agency we wanted to build and be a part of, we were all very clear on one point; by focusing on wellness, smart living and agritech, we want to partner with companies who are committed to driving a better future. These companies are brave, bold and driven by clear values that align with our own.

At the start of April, we were presented with an opportunity that was impossible to pass up. Mat Campbell-Hill, a recently-retired GB athlete and Senior Fellow in Novel and Emerging Medical Technology Design and Adoption at the University of Birmingham, alerted us to his latest venture, the AerosolSHIELD

Driven by the urgency of the present pandemic and with clinical guidance from Dr EJ da Silva, Consultant Anaesthetist at Birmingham’s Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Dr Lydia Campbell-Hill a GP and specialist in end-of-life care in the community and hospices, Mat saw an opportunity to leverage his extensive network, develop and producing a product (within seven days!) that could significantly reduce the risk of infection for front-line NHS staff and care-workers. Our NHS heroes deserve to feel safe and yet, as The Guardian has highlighted, NHS staff [are] to be offered mental health support for Covid-19 ‘shell shock’. Whether it’s convenient to admit it or not, this is another timebomb that could have far broader ramifications for our health service in the UK so to see someone doing something to help improve NHS working conditions, even in these extreme times, was inspiring.

The product is essentially a pop-up isolation tent that covers the patient and significantly reduces the chances of care staff coming into contact with aerosolised droplets from the patient’s lungs in scenarios such as ventilation, intubation, nebulisation, CPR – or even just coughing… It’s extremely fast to deploy (taking less time to set up than it takes for a clinician to don a full set of PPE) and adds an extra barrier between the patient and carer to give them a greater feeling of safety and security whilst doing their jobs. This additional, disposable barrier can remain with the patient for multiple treatments and could be a game-changer in treating infections which are based in the respiratory system. 

We had to help in any way we could and personally, it feels great to do something concrete to help support our care workers. No matter how loudly I cheer or clap on a Thursday evening, it doesn’t ever feel like enough.  

The government and NHS procurement are overwhelmed so we have worked with AerosolSHIELD to focus on securing funds in order to donate as many of these as we can to the NHS. 

We’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign and every penny will go straight towards the manufacture and delivery of these products. The entire team behind AerosolSHIELD is working free of charge to get these SHIELDs out as quickly as possible and we are proud to donate our support alongside them.