During the last decade, there was an increased fear of MRSA and clostridium difficile outbreaks within NHS hospitals. This resulted in a trend of increased concentration of disinfectant and a general increase in the frequency of use of these disinfectants.
The recommended guidelines for dealing with, for example, a spillage within a medical facility, involves rinsing the affected area and treating it with a disinfectant solution consisting of 1,000ppm of chlorine. With fear of an outbreak on the rise, several published hospital protocols and observations by member companies found that in practice, it was increasingly commonplace that concentrations of 10,000ppm were used in these circumstances.
The unforeseen consequence of this increased hygienic diligence culminated in a MHRA alert issued in January 2010. With official guidelines outlining concentrations of disinfectant much lower than those actually being applied, equipment such as mattresses and bedsheets were becoming damaged.
The damage caused by the strong disinfectant solutions had the potential to harbour contaminants and lead to the spread of infection. At this time, this cause had not yet been identified and there was a perception within the NHS that the products being supplied were not fit for purpose.
BHTA Steering Committee
As a result, the industry association (BHTA) began a detailed investigation into the possible causes and solutions for the perceived product failure. To this end, a steering committee was formed, consisting of member companies, and of non-member companies with expertise in given fields, such as leading cleaning chemical companies. Among these companies, Redwood was brought in as a polyurethane coated textile and mattress cover manufacturer. At this time, Redwood was not a member, or otherwise associated with the BHTA, beyond their role as a third tier supplier to many members of the association.
Development of Xtreme
As a result of the steering committee, Redwood recognised the need for a more resistant fabric coating. Clearly, while the standard coatings perform well if the correct cleaning and care instructions are followed, the reality was that these coatings were being routinely exposed to far higher concentrations of cleaning chemicals as part of a reactionary trend within NHS institutions to prevent an MRSA or clostridium difficile outbreak.
Xtreme Fabric Coatings were created to address this need. The technology used to produce Xtreme means that covers can be decontaminated regularly using higher chemical concentrations without the fear of ingress due to premature aging. In addition to this increased performance, Xtreme does not compromise in other areas, still maintaining excellent pressure reducing attributes and patient comfort characteristics.