The NHS is looking to engineering businesses that have MRSA-beating products and technologies to take part in a new NHS programme.

Engineering businesses that have new products or technologies that could help prevent the spread of MRSA or similar infections are being asked to come forward to take part in a new NHS programme.

The NHS is seeking new solutions from across all industry sectors to help in the fight against healthcare associated infections (HCAIs). The Smart Solutions for HCAI programme offers businesses the chance to have their technology assessed by a team of independent experts, with a view to evaluating it in a hospital setting and potentially supplying it across the NHS.

Reducing HCAIs is said to be one of the top priorities for the NHS in the coming years. It is investing significant sums in improving infection prevention and control, and has set itself some challenging targets. While the basic ways of reducing HCAIs are largely unchanged, new technologies and equipment could help to meet these goals more quickly.

The Smart Solutions programme - - aims to identify new technologies that are not currently in use, or have not been widely adopted, within the NHS.

These may include new types of medical equipment, but could equally be technologies currently used in non-healthcare environments. The programme is open to businesses or other non-NHS organisations of any size, from any sector.

Project director Bryan Griffiths from TrusTECH, the NHS Innovation Hub for the north west of England, which is managing the project on a national basis, said engineering, manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, air conditioning and ventilation, food and drink, packaging and pharmaceuticals were among the sectors that could offer potential solutions.

He said: ‘Our aim is to find the most effective new solutions to control HCAIs and we are keeping an open mind as to where these could come from. Whether it is a product from a medical company, something developed for a completely different purpose or even an idea from an entrepreneurial inventor working in their spare room, we will assess its potential.

‘There may be some sectors that prove to be a particularly good source of ideas - especially those such as engineering and manufacturing, which may have innovative products or have developed "cleanroom" technologies to provide the right conditions for manufacturing and processing. The originators of these technologies may not have even considered the fact that they may have healthcare applications and could generate an additional source of revenue.’