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A Class Apart

01st December 2017

The progress of medical science has given us longer, healthier lives and a greater ability to survive life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The dual challenges of caring for ever sicker patients while simultaneously looking after the needs of an ageing population is a growing and increasingly costly problem for all healthcare providers.

Both elderly patients and those who are acutely ill with life-threatening illnesses and injuries are at risk of several preventable conditions that are a direct result of decreased mobility brought about by their healthcare needs – these avoidable harms include pressure ulcers and deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the leg).

Talley Group provide therapeutic mattresses, wound care devices and compression therapy systems to combat these conditions: not only do they reduce the risk of immobility related problems which can occur from being bed-bound, they also speed up the healing process which leads to a greater quality of life for the patient. The company manufactures in-house to ensure a safe and effective medical-grade product that is supplied to hospitals, care homes and medical equipment stores worldwide. For the head of international operations Paul Hoff, the importance of a high-quality product is crucial: ‘We should never forget that there is a patient at the end of the process and that what we do here has a real-world impact on that person’s health, comfort and quality of life.’

The guidelines around different classes of medical devices can be confusing and ambiguous. Paul Hoff explains: ‘Many of the devices we manufacture can be graded either Class I or Class IIa – which might be a distinction lost on many of our clinical customers and their procurement teams. But a Class IIa device must have an external independent audit of the product Technical File, which a Class I device does not. In other words, clinicians have assurances that their Class IIa device will deliver the performance and therapy required by patients, safely. The same cannot be said for Class 1 devices which are self-certified and therefore avoid such scrutiny.’

With healthcare providers under commercial pressure to provide cost-effective treatments, there is a real tension when it comes to investing in the type of medical devices made by the Talley Group.

‘There is a very short distance in this company between research and development and the manufacturing process,’ says Paul Hoff. ‘This is us taking ultimate responsibility for supplying institutions with the right equipment they need to provide the best quality care. If there was ever a case of making false economies by going for a cheap solution to start with only to create problems for yourself and your patients further down the line, this is it.’

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