Scottish nurse weighs in with new invention

By Gillian Sharpe
BBC Scotland News

Image caption,
Gillian Taylor (second from right) invented the device out of frustration

The Scottish nurse who invented a revolutionary weighing scale to help hospital patients get life-saving drugs quicker has said it was born out of "frustration".

Gillian Taylor was working as an emergency department nurse when the idea came to her.

Image caption,
The Patient Transfer Scale is a simple-looking board on the outside but it can weigh someone as they are moved from a trolley to a bed

She says it grew from a need to give medication quickly, which is crucial in conditions like stroke or sepsis.

To do that you need to know how much someone weighs.

"There's no quick way of weighing them at the moment," Ms Taylor says.

"What is available takes time and is cumbersome."

She says the new invention allows medics to take the weight of the patient using an already existing process.

Image caption,
A weight assessment of a patient is often vital

The Patient Transfer Scale may be a simple-looking board on the outside but sensors inside mean it can weigh someone as they are moved from a trolley to a bed.

This avoids the time and effort of doing it separately.

The sickest patients, as well as many others, are transferred by board anyway.

Image caption,
Nursing teams say the device will mean decisions are made quicker

"The difference it'll make is that decision-making is quicker," says Karen Goudie, chief of nursing services at University Hospital Monklands in Lanarkshire.

"We've got a timely weight for assessment, so our nursing teams and our pharmacy teams are then able to understand calculations of drugs etc and their (the patient's) nutritional status."

It may be a relatively simple idea but it has taken more than four years of development to get the patient transfer scale to this point.

Image caption,
Graham Watson, from Scottish Health Innovations, says the idea has tremendous potential

"This is hugely exciting," says Graham Watson, executive chairman of Scottish Health Innovations.

It helps commercialise innovations coming out of the National Health Service

"It's a relatively simple idea that has tremendous potential both here in Scotland and around the world," he adds.

"There are obvious direct benefits to patients as well as bringing a measure of financial return eventually to the National Health Service - so as far as we're concerned it's a win, win in all senses."

Related Topics