Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Early this year I became involved in the campaign called ‘Named Reusable Theatre Caps’.
Standard surgical scrubs hats are single-use.
The manufacturing process involves viscose, which harms the environment and cannot be recycled.
Hi, I’m Danielle Checketts, Managing Director of Warwick Med.
Hi, I’m Danielle Checketts, Managing Director of Warwick Med.
Since 2012 we have been working with partners in the NHS to increase patient communication and safety, providing training and education to clinicians enabling the NHS to run more efficiently.
2020 has been a year of challenge and change for us all. For Warwick Med, it has allowed us to focus on a central theme epitomising all our values. We are prioritising the campaign to switch from single-use, disposable scrub hats to reusable, customised theatre hats.
Let me first tell you a bit about where we’ve come from, who I am, and what drives us to do what we do.
I’ve been involved in healthcare in one form or another for all of my professional life.
I began my medical career in 1999 when I joined Whiston Hospital as a Health Care Assistant in the Burns and Plastics unit.
As you would imagine, I met and worked with many patients who needed serious amounts of specialist care and treatment. It gave me a real insight into the way people’s lives can change and the role the NHS can play.
Alongside my work at Whiston Hospital, I wanted to flex my entrepreneurial muscles, so I set up and ran a balloon décor business. I loved being completely in charge of everything I did with the business, controlling the products and supply chains and working with customers. It taught me a great deal, too.
The next stage of my medical career took me to Edge Hill University, where I completed a Nursing Diploma before specialising in Cardiology at Aintree University Hospital.
When I moved to Northamptonshire, I started working as a Staff Nurse on the respiratory ward at Kettering General Hospital.
Throughout all my medical positions, the number one priority was always the patient. I wanted to make sure everyone in my care felt safe and informed about what was happening. Effective communication is the key to giving patients the best experience and helping them achieve a full recovery.
In 2006 I decided on a career change to try to combine the business skills I had developed with my desire to help patients. The answer was to move into medical sales.
Over the next 6 years, I worked for several different companies in medical devices and pharmaceuticals, gaining a qualification with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry along the way.
It was important to me that what we were selling was genuinely making a positive difference to patients.
I walked away from my position with a company because I felt a particular device (for negative wound pressure therapy) wasn’t fit for purpose. I saw first-hand that it had a detrimental impact on a patient’s wound healing and decided that I couldn’t promote a product that could pose risks to patients.
However I then enjoyed an excellent experience, working with a new company on a range of gastrostomy feeding devices. I worked closely with nutritional clinical specialists, patients and their parents at Birmingham Children’s hospital to gather evidence.
This wasn’t just stats and figures, but high-quality, personal evidence including before and after pictures, showing how the new equipment benefited children who were having problems, such as leakage of stomach acid, with their existing devices.
I presented this positive evidence to the Paediatric Surgeons and Nutrition team, who then successfully switched to using the new product.
Gathering people’s stories – photos, anecdotes, those before and after comparisons - becamea vivid and powerful way to show other people the benefits we were offering, and how they could help many more patients.
Not sitting still
I’m a very driven person and don’t like to sit still. I believe there are always new experiences to try, new avenues to explore and innovations just waiting to be discovered.
Travelling is a passion. I like to experience and enjoy new and different cultures. Seeing so many varied ways of life helps me to keep an open mind, ready to question and explore fresh possibilities.
2012 was the year I decided to go it alone and set up my own company – Warwick Med.
I aimed to help build a safer, greener and more efficient NHS, with the patient experience as its heart.
A big part of my work has been hands-on training with clinicians and surgical theatre staff on maximising effective communication, both within their teams and, crucially, with patients.
My knowledge of medical products and supply chains has always helped Hospitals and NHS trusts make cost savings and add a green slant to their procurement processes.
Without doubt, 2020 has been a tumultuous year with a once-in-a-century public health crisis and all of us trying our best to adapt to a ‘new normal’.
We’ve all had to make changes to meet the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown at us.
One less obvious side effect was how extra PPE was making it harder for patients and even staff to recognise each other quickly in high-pressure situations. In operating theatres, especially in emergencies, this posed a serious risk of mistakes, simply by misidentification.
For patients too there was an impact: asking questions and feeling empowered and in control of your treatment is hard at the best of times, but when you can’t recognise the people around you, it can become impossible. This added anxiety how quickly and fully a patient recovers.
Early in 2020 I became involved in the campaign called ‘Named Reusable Theatre Caps’. And it’s as straightforward as it sounds – staff in operating theatres would wear reusable hats displaying their name and role, solving misidentification problems at a stroke.
Patients felt more comfortable and involved, and clinicians safer and more supported.
The more I looked into it, the more benefits I found.
Standard surgical scrub hats are single-use. The manufacturing process involves viscose, which harms the environment and cannot be recycled.
Every hospital will send thousands of these disposable caps to landfill or for incineration every week – not at all ecologically sound or environmentally friendly!
Disposable caps have to be ordered and reordered in huge quantities, with associated costs.
Personalised caps that can be washed at home, in line with infection control, represent considerable savings, both financially and environmentally.
So that brings us up to date!
Warwick Med is leading the change from disposable caps to personalised, reusable caps.
We’re working with new suppliers on a range of products that offer positive patient benefits, affordability and can be used over and over again.
There’s a campaigning element to this too – the more people who know about what we’re doing, the better! As ever, people tell the best stories, from the patient who felt reassured and comfortable, to the hospital staff who made the change and saved the NHS money.
That’s why we’ve grown our team and built up our digital presence across this refreshed website and social media.
So please, follow us online, explore the site, find out more about our products and hear from the people who use and benefit from them.
Here’s to a better and brighter 2021.
Love to #NHS Good news!