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School nurse invents new asthma spacer

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A Norfolk school nurse has won a prestigious award for inventing a “pocket sized” asthma spacer.

Paul Watson, a school nurse from Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, received the 2011 Alumni Success in BusinessAward from Anglia Ruskin University.

Inspired by his daughter who has asthma, Mr Watson developed a prototype for a more compact and reshaped spacer. The new design makes it easier to carry as it collapses into a small space, while its conical shape ensures all of the medication released after spraying the inhaler reaches the patient’s lungs.

With help from Health Enterprise East, the region’s NHS innovation hub, Mr Watson’s design – the Pocketflow Compact Spacer - is now being produced commercially by Vivo Smart Medical Devices.

During his early career Mr Watson worked across the country within engineering and design roles, but in 2007 graduated from Anglia Ruskin University with a degree in Primary and Community Care and Specialist Practice (School Nurse).

He said: “My new spacer design helps to make inhaler use more efficient by ensuring patients fully benefit from each spray of medication, rather than having to use two or three sprays to see the same effect.

“The portable design should also help people with asthma to better manage their condition and live with it every day.”

Mr Watson received his award during a student graduation ceremony at the Corn Exchange in Cambridge on 13 October.

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