A new type of aerosol shield – designed by Silverstone Park business One Group Engineering to improve the safety of clinical staff during COVID-19 – has been approved for use at a leading NHS trust.

The innovative ‘Oxford Box’ has been overseen by a collaboration including Silverstone Technology Cluster Ambassador Dr Cristiana Pace’s Enovation Consultancy Ltd business, One Group’s founder Dr Ron Hartvelt and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH).

The Renault DP World F1 Team, with its highly advanced understanding of CFD (computational fluid dynamics), and the OxSTaR (Oxford Simulation, Teaching & Research) centre have also played significant roles.

The Oxford Box improves safety for frontline staff during the process of ‘intubation’ and ‘ex-tubation’ of patients.

Weighing just 7kg, its light, flatpack construction enables the device to be stored away easily, sterilised more effectively and swiftly re-allocated in emergency situations.

After extensive trials at OxSTaR and the training of key clinical staff, OUH approved the use of the Oxford Box across its four hospitals: the John Radcliffe, Churchill and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

To date, much of the One Group’s work has been in vehicle chassis design and engineering. However, the Oxford Box project marked an opportunity for it to transfer its skills to the medical sector.

Ron Hartvelt explained: “Most of our work has previously been automotive and motorsport, so it’s been fantastic engaging with OUH and OxSTaR to develop the Oxford Box medical device.

“In terms of understanding the challenges, design innovation and prototype delivery, I believe this project demonstrates just how powerful the motorsport approach can be.

“It’s been an exciting and rewarding project and medical is certainly a sector that we would like to continue to apply our skills to.”

Bianca Tingle, a Consultant Anaesthetist at OUH, said: “We believe the Oxford Box is the best aerosol shield available. We predict it will be used beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is unique because it is completely collapsible, easy to stow away – space is a precious commodity in hospitals – and is much easier to clean than other similar devices being developed, which helps enormously with infection control. These were the key features we were looking for.”

Cristiana Pace, who first identified the need for the Oxford Box, commented:

“The STC network, and Silverstone Park, is a great source of expertise, especially during the pandemic when many of its members looked at ways to reconvert their businesses to help with challenges generated by COVID-19.

“The problem solving skills and agility of our industry, combined with the clinical knowledge and expertise of Oxford University Hospitals, resulted in a cost effective state-of-the-art solution (Oxford Box), able to keep safe clinicians during their invaluable day to day work.

“One Group Engineering and Renault DP World F1 Team were both instrumental in achieving this result in such a short frame of time…

“As well as looking at the ergonomics and conceptual design, we are planning on assessing and reducing the carbon footprints of this product, underlining our responsibility to transition to circular economy.”