FENLAND: New hovermatts at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to help move the larger patients

How many nurses does it take to move a 27 stone patient? Only four and not much muscle power. As patients become increasingly heavy more staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King s Lynn, which serves people from Fenland, have been suffering from back

How many nurses does it take to move a 27 stone patient?

Only four and not much muscle power.

As patients become increasingly heavy more staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, which serves people from Fenland, have been suffering from back injuries with almost 100 reported last year.

But after a �21,000 donation from the hospital's League of Friends the problem has been solved by using hovercraft technology to move patients from trolley to operating table.


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Under the old system, using a plastic back board, it would have taken at least eight staff to heave an obese, often anesthetised patient across.

The QEH is the first hospital in the region to introduce the new technology and they now have 11 Hovermatts in place meaning it now only takes four people to move a patient merely using a hand to guide the body onto the bed.

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Ward sister Chris Nicholls said: "It has made a huge difference because people are getting heavier and it causes a lot of problems to theatre staff who are constantly trying to move people between beds."

Chris Milsom, a 27-stone hospital porter who was demonstrating the new mats said: "They bought in the heavy artillery to try it out.

"It felt very strange. I lay on the trolley and they put you on the hover matt flat before injecting air into it.

"It's just like lying flat on a bouncy castle. Then the staff just moved me over using straps."

But the mats do not come cheap. It is the hospital's League of Friends who provided the cash for the new beds.

Each Hovermatt comes with a �2,000 price tag and the league raised the cash through various fundraising events and their hospital shop.

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