Consultants from the NHS Innovations North team provided specialist business support services to Newcastle based company, Go-Kit, who’s owner, Ingrid Henderson, called upon her personal experiences of recovering from breast cancer to design and develop a new product for the cancer care market.
Breast cancer affects nearly 50,000 patients in the UK each year. Go-Kit is a purpose made bag to support the lymphatic drainage bottles used by post–operative breast cancer patients as a means of preventing seroma or lymphedema following lumpectomy, mastectomy or breast reconstruction. Go-Kit bags are discreet, hide the unsightly wound fluid and offer patients comfort and mobility both in hospital and after discharge. The drainage bottles fit snugly in the bags eliminating the possibility of the drains being pulled out.
NHS Innovations North has provided Go Kit with business support that has included advice about registered trademarks, market size and types of bottles routinely used by breast care teams in the NHS.
Further support has included introducing Ingrid to another SME business who were able to make small production runs of the first prototype designs of the bags. By utilising the skills of Sharon Alderslade of Design-a-Stitch based in Annfield Plain, Ingrid has been able to adapt her initial designs to address market needs.
The bags were enthusiastically received by the Breast Cancer Support Team and Positively Pink, a voluntary support group for patients, at North Tyneside General Hospital. Through Positively Pink, whose aim is to raise funds for extra services for breast cancer patients at the Hospital, initial orders were placed for the bags.
The bags which are an over the shoulder design, provide recovering patients with the self-confidence to move around with their drainage bottle whilst also maintaining their dignity. The NHS and the patients benefit enormously by reducing the necessity of return visits to the hospital for re-insertion of drains.
Carl Brown, Business Support Manager of NHS Innovations North commented that “it has been an absolute pleasure to have been able to provide the support to both Go-Kit and Design-a-Stitch knowing that the quality of life will be improved for so many patients. It has been particularly pleasing to see the two SME businesses working collaboratively alongside Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to turn Ingrid’s vision into a reality”.
Ingrid Henderson, founder of Go-Kit said “Carl’s knowledge and experience combined with his understanding of the need for Go-Kit bags has been invaluable in bringing the bags from concept to reality. The development of the Go-Kit bags has been a personal mission for me, during my treatment and in the development of Go-Kit it is clear that there is great demand for Go-Kit bags. It has been really exciting watching Go-Kit grow from the initial concept to patients in the hospital. And even myself after my latest operation”.
Contacts: Sarah Black at RTC North
Notes to editor: RTC North is an independent innovation agency committed to helping business and society manage change. Excelling in the areas of technology transfer, business growth and innovation management, RTC North has worked with thousands of organisations since 1989 to create jobs, wealth and a better quality of life for the people of Northern England. Today the company employs over 60 people and has offices in Sunderland, Liverpool and Leeds.