Suburb inventor helps hospitals create pop-up wards to dodge fines

A Hampstead Garden Suburb entrepreneur has scooped an award for his invention which helps hospitals dodge hefty fines for breaching patients’ privacy and dignity.

Cambridge engineering graduate Michael Korn, 30, won the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year prize for his portable and flexible KwickScreen invention - which allows hospitals to create pop-up wards to make better use of limited space.

Inspired by the “frog’s tongue”, the roll-up partitions help hospitals avoid a �250 penalty should patients have to share a ward with a member of the opposite sex.

Last month there were 1,244 such breaches in English hospitals, racking up �311,000 in fines.

More than 35 hospitals in this country and international healthcare organisations have already bought the 3� metre wide screens.

Mr Korn said: “When I’ve been in hospitals I’ve had a lot of feedback as to the lack of space and I thought this would be the perfect thing for those awkward situations. You can take an open plan ward and divide it up however you want.”

He picked up his award and a �10,000 cash prize at the Shell Centre on the South Bank on November 9

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A London hospital is now trialling the easy-to-clean device to see if it could be used for infection control – something the inventor of Eastholm in Hampstead Garden Suburb said costs hospitals a lot of space.

Mr Korn said: “At the moment patients who are infected have to be taken into side rooms to be treated.

“But a lot of infections are not airborne and are only passed on by touch and the screens can provide a physical barrier to stop that.

“The side rooms are then freed up to be used for patients who are dying or those who have other more pressing needs.”

The entrepreneur plans to roll out his invention, which can have images printed or projected onto it, to offices as a partition device.

Mr Korn has also invented a needle sheath for clinicians.

The sheath – or StickSafe – can help avoid nurses and doctors suffering accidental punctures, which carry the risk of lethal infections including HIV and Hepatitis.