Northern Care Alliance becomes first NHS organisation to adopt new secure communications system for neurosurgery during Covid-19

Kinetic6 PAPR hoods web
Northern Care Alliance becomes first NHS organisation to adopt new secure communications system for neurosurgery during Covid-19
26 November 2020

Salford Royal, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (NCA), has become the first hospital to adopt a new and secure medical communications system.  

Designed by telecommunications specialist Kinetic Six, to support the use of PAPR hoods developed in partnership with Salford Royal, Rolls Royce and local academic input, the system has been successfully trialled by a team of Salford Royal neurosurgeons. 

The NCA brings together the Salford Royal and Pennine Acute trusts, operating hospitals and community services in Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale.

Kinetimed enables clinicians to speak to each other during complex medical procedures without compromising on Covid-19 security measures, such as the additional PPE requirements. 

The introduction of Covid measures had posed significant challenges for surgical staff, including constraining essential verbal communication during surgery. Existing communication devices required the surgeon to touch operate, which is not always possible in situations where the surgeons are using both hands for their work. 

Salford Royal worked with Kinetic Six to test a hands-free and frequency-free duplex radiocommunications system. This successfully suppressed environmental noise with a patented noise filter and was incorporated into a new PAPR (powered air-purifying respirator) hood supplied with a constant flow of cooled air. The PAPR hoods incorporated 3D printed elements and were manufactured at Manchester's three universities. 

The small radio set terminal is quickly set and stored in a pocket or gown and is firmly connected by a secure jack to a micro-headset. The PAPR hood is worn over the radio headset and together the solution provides surgeons with comfortable, protective equipment and vital hands-free communication with colleagues.

Mr Omar Pathmanaban,  Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Manchester Centre for Clinical Neurosciences, Salford Royal, said:

“The new PAPR communication solution mitigates the risks of impaired communication in high risk surgical settings during the pandemic. It saves critical time, improves the accuracy of communication and allows us to safely reinstate supervised operating for trainee surgeons safe in the knowledge that there are no communication risks during surgical procedures. We hope the success of the system at Salford will inspire other care settings to follow suit and adopt the technology for their surgical teams.”

Kinetic Six, Gill Gower said:

“We have been delivering discrete radio communications solutions to the public sector for many years, however we have never had requirements from the NHS. Covid-19 has clearly created many challenges across healthcare settings, and we are extremely proud to deliver a solution at such a critical time. In just two weeks following testing we were able to provide a device which addressed all the clinical communication challenges for Salford’s neurosurgeons.”