Health watchdog’s backing for Inditherm’s heated mattresses

HEATING technology company Inditherm has won the backing of the UK health watchdog for its heated mattresses, which it hopes will boost its sales to the NHS.

Inditherm has developed low-voltage mattresses which help prevent patients suffering hypothermia during surgery.

The Rotherham-based company yesterday said the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) made three key recommendations backing the use of its mattresses in operating theatres.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Chief executive Nick Bettles said: “We are delighted that NICE has recognised the value of our patient warming mattress both in terms of its effectiveness in maintaining patient core body temperature and the cost savings it offers.

“This could save the NHS in England alone well over £15m per annum if forced air warming was replaced by Inditherm’s mattress for eligible procedures in most of the 3,030 operating theatres.

“I am confident that this positive recommendation will see an increasing interest in our product and its more consistent use across NHS operating theatres, with additional income starting to flow as it gets embraced into the NHS budgeting process.”

The company has developed heating technology spanning football training grounds, construction and manufacturing, but has struggled to gain sales momentum. It is now focusing on the medical sector after quitting the food process industry last year. Its medical orders increased by 50 per cent in 2010, including 90 per cent UK growth. It ceased supplying firms such as confectioners with heating equipment after a series of contract disappointments.

NICE’s guidance suggested Inditherm’s mattress may have “practical advantages” over forced air warming, and it is effective in maintaining a patient’s core body temperature above 36C. “The Inditherm patient warming mattress should be considered for use in patients undergoing operations that carry a risk of inadvertent hypothermia,” said NICE.

The health watchdog said benefits include the fact it is re-usable, cleaned in the same way as an operating table mattress, has low energy consumption and only warms the patient without unintentionally also warming surgeons.

The watchdog added the annual cost saving from an additional Inditherm patient warming system compared with forced air warming is estimated to be £9,800 per operating theatre.

Professor Carole Longson, director of the NICE Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, said: “We are very pleased to publish guidance advising that the Inditherm patient warming mattress should be considered for use in patients at risk of inadvertent hypothermia.

“The evidence examined indicates that as well as benefiting patients by reducing a range of serious complications associated with inadvertent hypothermia, it also benefits the NHS by saving money.

“When considering new investment in warming devices, consideration should be given to whether use of Inditherm would be beneficial with respect to local circumstances.”