KwickScreen: reducing infections in healthcare environments

Posted on: 05/08/2022

A business supported by Innovate UK  Innovation Loans has developed a novel KwickScreen infection barrier to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in UK hospitals.

Hundreds of millions of people each year pick up infections while in hospital yet more than half of these are preventable.

The importance of reducing infection by improving hygiene has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, a London-based company has been rolling out an innovative solution to help hospitals create flexible, hygienic and COVID-secure spaces.

Kornwall, developers of the KwickScreen, have been working since 2008 on solving the problem of hospital-acquired infections like MRSA. They realised there was a real need for a quick, efficient way to isolate patients and reduce the spread of infection.

The result is a range of award-winning, patented screens which are portable, adaptable and hygienic. CEO Alan Murrell explained:

If you look at a photograph of a hospital ward 100 years ago, you’ll see curtains being used to separate beds.

Hospital hygiene has advanced in so many ways since then yet we’re still using bits of fabric that flap around attracting dirt. There had to be a better way.

The screens act as a physical barrier between people or beds, preventing the transmission of dangerous pathogens and viruses. They’ve been designed to be moved by one person using a single touch point for increased infection control.

They’re also more sustainable than traditional curtains which have a much shorter lifespan and usually end up in landfill.

The company supplies KwickScreens to every NHS Trust, as well as the Nightingales, and hospitals in the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia.

In 2020, Innovate UK awarded an innovation continuity loan of £1.6 million to the company which enabled them to increase automation and quickly scale up production throughout the pandemic.

Alan said:

We manufacture everything here in the UK and had to increase production from 16 screens a day to more than 200. We wouldn’t have been able to meet the increased demand without the innovation continuity loan – it’s been a massive help.

Our income has more than trebled over the past year to around £7 million now.

It’s very exciting to realise the impact we’ve had on helping to fight the virus.

Kornwall had 12 staff a year ago and now employs 90. Many of these are 20 to 30 years old, the age group that has been hardest hit with job losses.

Alan added:

We’re really determined to give opportunities to young talent. We were a young start-up and we want to keep that ethos.

We wouldn’t have been able to meet the increased demand without the innovation continuity loan –it’s been a massive help.

About Innovation Loans

Innovate UK is offering up to £25 million in loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Innovation Loans are on offer to highly innovative late-stage research and development projects with the best potential for the future.

Each project that receives funding has clear routes to commercialisation and economic impact, leading to new products, processes or services with a particular focus on supporting and delivering future economy areas included in the Innovate UK plan for action.

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Current funding opportunities

Innovation Loans Future Economy Competition – Round Five

Opens: 20/07/2022 Closes: 14/09/2022

UK registered SMEs can apply for loans for innovative projects with strong commercial potential to significantly improve the UK economy.

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