AN INNOVATIVE, potentially life-saving mattress has been created by a Basingstoke hospital fire officer – and it could potentially be rolled out in NHS hospitals and other health-care organisations in the UK and beyond.

The mattresses, which have been installed across Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, allow patients to be evacuated, in case of fire, on the mattress itself, with no need to transfer patients from their beds to other evacuation equipment.

The concept was the brainchild of fire officer Steve Tremarco, who collaborated with hospital suppliers Direct Healthcare Services to perfect the model, patent it and bring it into production.

He said: “The original concept came from me recognising there was a challenge in moving patients – one I saw in my role as a fire officer. I couldn’t see any solution available so I decided to design one myself.”

The mattresses have built-in straps, which in the case of fire will allow patients to be transported directly out of the building without being moved.

Graham Ewart, managing director of Direct Healthcare Services, said: “I truly believe this could be a life-saving product. We are very proud to have collaborated with the trust on this very special project.”

The trust paid around £190 per mattress and purchased about 800 for the Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester hospitals, but they will receive royalties from each of the Dyna-Form Mercury Fire Evacuation mattresses purchased by other trusts and organisations in the future.

Donna Green, chief operating officer at HHFT, said the safety benefits of the mattresses massively outweighed the small financial outlay.

She said: “I hope we will never have to use them but fires do happen and you need to be prepared.

“This was a fantastic idea from Steve. He does a great job and it’s amazing that he has then gone the extra mile and been extremely innovative.”

Mr Tremarco received a WOW! Award for innovation at the launch of the mattresses. The awards are given out by the trust’s council of governors.