Violegen
COVID-19 OUTBREAK EMERGENCY STERILISATION SERVICE

Businessman wants NHS to try his UV-C sterilisers for fighting Covid

By Darren Slade - Bournemouth Echo

A BUSINESSMAN making machines that could fight the spread of the coronavirus is frustrated that he cannot get the NHS to try one for free.

Andrew Fry set up Violegen to make sterilising units that kill germs using germicidal ultraviolet light (UV-C).

The method kills most airborne and surface-laid viruses and bacteria including Covid-19, flu, e.coli and norovirus.

But although similar technology is used in parts of the NHS, Mr Fry says he has not been able to get his machines into the public sector locally.

The Poole-based managing director started producing them as a way of protecting staff in his other business, the insulation company Cellecta

He said: “We are currently trying to supply these room sterilising units to the public sector but have come up again many barriers.

"We even have offered them to be loaned out for free during the Covid-19 pandemic, but bureaucracy seems to be in the way.

“We’ve offered free loan units to various NHS trusts. While there have been a lot of positive responses from the procurement teams, none of them have taken us up as the disease control officers that need to make the decision will not respond.” 

He added: “We find all this absolutely crazy that we have a way for these places to quickly and efficiently disinfect a room or zone in minutes when they are sealing them off for hours or even days or weeks, even without a Covid-19 outbreak.”

He has managed to get the machines into some local care homes and schools, but has taken to writing to all board members at Dorset Healthcare University NHS Trust in a bid to get his idea heard there. 

“We have worked closely with the UK Lighting Industry Association to develop these units making sure they are properly certified and accredited for use in hospitals, surgeries, care homes, schools and universities, hotels, industrial and office settings,” he added.

A statement from Dorset Healthcare University NHS Trust said: “Rather than approach the board directors, the most appropriate route for such queries is via our procurement team, who have been receiving many offers of support throughout the pandemic.

“As the NHS continues to respond to Covid-19, we are following nationally mandated arrangements for infection, prevention and control.

“Mr Fry may wish to contact national NHS colleagues too.”

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation – which runs Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch hospitals – said it had advised Violegen to register with the government’s Master Indemnity Agreement register.

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