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F1 engineers help Stoke Mandeville Hospital fight coronavirus

A company in Thame which usually works on Formula One cars has helped get new ventilators working for the intensive care unit.

Published by Chris Maskery at 8:00am 18th April 2020. 3-minute read.

F1 engineers help Stoke Mandeville Hospital fight coronavirus

Stoke Mandeville Hospital has been helped to fight coronavirus by Formula One engineers.

Extra ventilators had been found for the intensive care unit at the hospital, but the connectors to attach them to the oxygen supply were missing.

Thame company Good Fabs normally make exhaust systems for F1 cars, but they came to the rescue designing a new connector to make sure the ventilator could be attached to the oxygen supply.

It was then built by Cavey Laboratories to create a small, but life-saving link for those battling Covid-19.

F1 valves

With supply chains stretched to breaking point by the current Covid-19 emergency, Bucks Healthcare Trust had managed to source much-needed intensive care ventilators but was dismayed to find the connectors to attach to the oxygen supply were missing, making them useless.

When attempts to contact the manufacturer to get the vital connectors failed, the race was on to find a way around the problem.

Cardiologist, and Chair of Medical Procurement at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Dr Andrew Money-Kyrle said it was a critical situation with patients needing ventilators to help them battle the virus, but the hospital had no way to connect its new ventilators to the oxygen system.

“At times like this, it seems miracles can happen. One of our volunteers, Jane Rampin of Resilience Health, put us in touch with the Neil Morgan, Managing Director of Good Fabs, which makes high performance exhaust systems for Formula 1 cars and he leapt at the chance to help,” 

F1 valves
The completed valves

The Trust’s head of Clinical Engineering, Stephen Squire, entrusted it’s only existing connector to Jane Rampin who rushed it to Good Fabs’ Thame workshop.

Mr Squire said Neil Morgan’s ‘can do’ attitude and highly skilled team of engineers and designers swung into action to produce a full set of technical drawings over the weekend:

“Within 12 hours, Good Fabs had designed a prototype connector ready to go into production. At this point, Cavey Laboratories, a Formula 1 partner based in Guildford, were called on to take over the manufacture of the part,” 

Dr Money-Kyrle said the two companies worked flat out for four days to make the critical valves which were delivered to Stoke Mandeville on Good Friday, meaning the new ventilators were being used in intensive care wards in time for the expected surge in Covid-19 cases over the Easter weekend:

“Our staff and clinicians are working round the clock to care for our community and battle this virus.

"This weekend, some of our wider community pulled together to help us,” 

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