Smith & Nephew rises to coronavirus ventilator challenge

Hull’s Smith & Nephew plant is to build a new ventilator designed through a collaboration between it and leading academics.

The Advanced Would Management facility in the city will rise to the challenge, with the OxVent Ventilator currently under review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority.

Smith & Nephew has worked with The University of Oxford and King’s College London to unite expertise and help the NHS fight Covid-19, with the devices vital to support patients’ breathing ability.

Roland Diggelmann, chief executive of the global medical technology business, said: “We are proud to be able to support this vital effort and help meet the UK Government’s ventilator challenge to ensure the NHS is equipped for treating patients with Covid-19.

Smith & Nephew chief executive Roland Diggelman.
(Image: Smith & Nephew)

“I want to thank all our employees who are working long hours to make this happen, while also ensuring continued production of the important medical products already manufactured at our Hull site to support other patients. Our purpose is ‘Life Unlimited’ and I can think of no greater expression of this in practice.”

The ventilator has been designed to allow for large scale production.

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The FTSE-listed company, founded in Hull in 1856 and now operational in more than 100 countries, is supporting the assessment process and preparing for manufacture to begin immediately following authorisation.

Smith and Nephew is not a regular ventilator producer, and will “redirect highly skilled employees” to fulfil the need, should it be passed in what is understood to be a streamlined process.

It comes as RB has stepped up Dettol and other product manufacturing, with potential for further investment in the city, and as East Yorkshire firm Premier Modular builds temporary intensive care units for the NHS.

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