Welsh doctor’s ventilator approved by regulators

A new type of ventilator developed by a senior consultant from Glangwili Hospital, and an engineering company from Ammanford to help coronavirus patients, has been approved by regulators.

Designed by Glangwili senior consultant Dr Rhys Thomas, with the help of Maurice Clarke of CR Clarke & Co, an engineering company in Ammanford, it helps patients to breathe more easily.

Dr Thomas has previous experience working in anaesthetics and resuscitation in the military and with help of a company in Ammanford and advice from doctors in Italy fighting the virus.

The Covid CPAP machine has been approved by the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It will now undergo clinical trials.

Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole welcomed the news.

“This is a fantastic example of medical and technical expertise coming together at a critical time to meet the formidable challenge of dealing with this terrible virus.”

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Carmarthenshire County Council Leader

He said: "It is encouraging to see the local business sector bringing innovation and entrepreneurship to the fore in this present crisis."

Hywel Dda University Health Board says it is having to adapt hospital wards to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients and the council is working closely with them to set up four field hospitals in the county.

The council is converting Carmarthen and Llanelli Leisure Centres, the Selwyn Samuel Centre and the Parc y Scarlets barn in Llanelli, into temporary hospitals to provide additional NHS bed space.

The Principality stadium in Cardiff is now a field hospital. Credit: Abigail Harris

It joins other councils around Wales to build new field hospitals, one of which is in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, which will have a capacity of 2,000 beds.

Cllr Dole added: "As far as bed provision goes, Carmarthenshire is as prepared as we can be, but anything which helps take pressure off our hospitals and NHS staff, and help save lives, would obviously be most welcome."

Professor Keir Lewis, Respiratory Lead for Hywel Dda, added: "This potentially promising CPAP machine now has the appropriate plans and support across Wales to undergo a rapid and careful evaluation with patients and we await the outcome of these trials with interest."