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THIIS TRADE MAGAZINE ISSUE 274 JULY 2021

Also inside... ISSUE 274 JULY 2021

TRADE MAGAZINE

BHTS highlights Moving and handling aids Tour Derbyshire Mobility

Providing news and views in the trade since 1999

Driving innovation

Direct Healthcare Group’s CEO on how the best of British can transform the healthcare sector


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WELCOME

Inside..

From the editor Welcome!

28 48 Features

10 British Healthcare Trade Show highlights 24 The need for British innovation 28 Retailer Spotlight: Derbyshire Mobility 34 Supplier Spotlight: Access BDD

36 Regulars

04 News, deals and people 16 Retailers’ Choice: Moving and handling equipment 44 Let’s get it clear 46 Buyers’ Guide: Moving and handling equipment

Many of us have adopted different ways of working during the pandemic, but for many, nothing beats collaborating face-to-face with your peers, which is why it was so wonderful to see the sector finally get together at the recent British Healthcare Trade Show in Leeds. The show offered a chance for many in the sector to share their latest products and news, as well as to make old and new connections. Read our feature on page 10 to get a taste of how it all went. Derbyshire Mobility was one of many mobility retailers that stayed open as an essential business throughout the pandemic. Its new store in picturesque Matlock may have opened a few months later than planned but its director Rob Cartledge (on p28) couldn’t be more positive about what the future holds for mobility retailers. This issue, our focus is on moving and handling aids, so don’t miss our top retailers’ recommendations on page 16 as well as our Buyer’s Guide, which starts on page 46. You also won’t want to miss our exclusive feature by Graham Ewart, CEO of Direct Healthcare Group. His firm recently topped this year’s Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, an annual list of private companies with the fastest growing profits over the last three years. On page 24, Graham shares his thoughts on why innovation is key for British businesses. Other features include a profile of stairlift manufacturer Access BDD and on page 44, Dr Barend ter Haar discusses postural support devices in a new series of articles. If you have any suggestions for stories you would like to see covered in THIIS, or you’re a retailer with something new to share with our readers, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Editor

Stay up to date... TRADE MAGAZINE

Editor / Liane McIvor 07917 784929 / liane@thiis.co.uk Advertising / Joe Fahy 07384 258 372 / joe.fahy@bhtaengage.com Sub-editor / Sarah Sarsby sarah@thiis.co.uk

@wwwthiiscouk facebook.com/THIIS.Magazine linkedin.com/company/thiis-magazine THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, Office 404, Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46-48 E Smithfield, Whitechapel, London E1W 1AW BHTA Engage Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions.

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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

News, deals & people

A round-up of the key trade stories for business leaders to digest

Handicare’s new multilingual ‘recruit’

in brief...

Stairlift manufacturer Handicare has launched a new online service to ensure engineers in the field can access technical support as quickly as possible whenever they need it. TechTool is a new online troubleshooter exclusively available for engineers working for Handicare’s global partner network. The handy portal provides answers to questions they may have about Handicare’s straight and curved stairlifts when attending routine servicing appointments or breakdowns at their customers’ homes. Handicare VP Commercial Clare Brophy said: “We’re focused on delivering memorable experiences, particularly when it comes to customer service and the support we provide for our valued partners. “Our initiatives to take our technical support to the next level as part of our improved Partner Programme include this innovative new multilingual ‘recruit’. “TechTool will also provide additional help for our experienced Technical Support and sales teams working closely with partners around the world.” Accredited and trained engineers working with Handicare stairlifts now have free access 24/7 to the portal, which guides them quickly and easily through the troubleshooter steps from the technical manuals.

HOIST FIRM UP FOR SALE Ardoo Caresafe, creator and supplier of the Ardoo 140 Hoist and Stand Aid Combo, is on the market after its owner announced that he plans to retire. Senan Boland, Managing Director of Ardoo Caresafe, said that the existing manufacturing supply chain can easily be transferred to the new owners, which would ensure continuity of supply. He added: “There is also vast potential to further develop sales of the product range both in the UK and overseas.”

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“Working alongside our excellent Tech Support team, TechTool will make it easy for engineers to find quick fixes without having to contact one of the engineers on the team directly,” added Clare. Currently, TechTool is available in English, Italian, French and German and includes solutions for the 1000, 2000 and Freecurve stairlifts, with additional solutions are planned for later this year. Engineers can register for a TechTool account by visiting: www.handicaretechtool.com now.

MILLBROOK TRIALS ELECTRIC VANS Millbrook Healthcare is piloting a 100 per cent electric van in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint. The firm, which specialises in the provision of community equipment, wheelchair, and assistive technology services to the NHS and local authorities, will begin the pilot of the the van, a Peugeot e-Expert, in Welwyn Garden City Wheelchair Service. It will also go to Somerset Community Equipment Service, Surrey Community Equipment Service and Barnet Community Equipment Service to determine the viability at different service centres.


Shipping crisis disrupts mobility sector supply chain Mobility manufacturers in the UK are bracing themselves for more delays in stock being delivered from overseas suppliers with the global container shipping crisis set to continue until March 2022. An outbreak of COVID-19 in Guangdong province in southern China has caused acute congestion at the region’s ports and caused shipments to be delayed, exacerbating tensions within global supply chains. The knock-on effects could take many months to resolve, according to Scott McCallum, Import Manager for international supply chain specialist Ligentia. Scott told THIIS: “Shipping costs in the last 12 months have increased by 1,000 per cent.” “This is clearly unsustainable, and a lot of importers are having to make a decision whether to ship the goods or not and if the goods are going to sell at the increased costs. “This is a worldwide issue. There is a lack of available containers, space on vessels and port congestion which is increasing turnaround times on vessels, all of which are having an impact on the freight prices.”

Bespoke Stairlifts continues major recruitment drive Continuing with its expansion plans post-pandemic, West Yorkshire-based Bespoke Stairlifts has announced another key appointment as it enhances its operational services. Witold Wawszczak (pictured left) joined the stairlift manufacturer’s team in May, assuming responsibility for quality assurance. Since graduating with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and design, Witold has gained over 15 years’ experience within the automotive, oil and gas, aerospace, FMCG and energy/power sectors, specialising in engineering quality assurance. On joining the Bespoke Stairlifts team, Witold said: “I very much look forward to implementing efficient solutions to enhance the quality of Bespoke products, establishing new standards and procedures as part of the strategic planning while promoting a process-led team approach.” Witold is one of four new recruits to join the stairlift specialist in 2021. He joins Jason Mayor, Head of Sales, Jen Hewitt, Head of Finance, and Peter Osuch, Supply Chain Manager.

MBE FOR DIRECT ACCESS CEO Profoundly deaf Steven Mifsud, founder of disability accessibility firm Direct Access, has been awarded an MBE for services to International Trade in the Queen’s 2021 Birthday Honours list. Established 17 years ago, Direct Access is a disability accessibility consultancy that advises organisations on how to improve access to premises and services for disabled people. The award recognises Steven’s work with the UK’s Department of International Trade to raise awareness of how small businesses and entrepreneurs can access government support to export.

Rollz adds rollator to its mobility range Dutch firm Rollz International has launched a new rollator featuring softer tyres that provide optimal cushioning for comfortable walking, as well as more colour choice. The new Rollz Flex 2 rollator is an updated version of the previous Rollz Flex model introduced in 2016. Its foam-filled tyres absorb the vibrations from the ground and offer better grip and durability. Richard Zwart, Commercial Director at Rollz, says: “We are delighted to announce the introduction of the Rollz Flex 2, which has been improved to answer the customers’ feedback and requests and to also be in line with the market changes. It is a stable, safe, comfortable, and easily manoeuvrable walker that offers the support that fits your needs.” The Rollz Flex 2 is available in white, black, green and purple and comes with a spacious shopping bag made in a strong, smokey grey fabric that can better withstand rain and is easier to clean.

NEW VOICEIT APP Speech recognition company Voiceitt has launched a new app, which empowers individuals to navigate their environments and control smart home devices using their own voice commands. The app, which can currently be downloaded for free on Apple Store, is available for individuals or in volume by institutions, nursing facilities and organisations. The company states that the launch of its “life-changing voice recognition technology” has come at a pivotal time, where people have been cut off from vital care support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

Stiltz Homelifts pledges support for the BHTA

Permobil joins the Motability Scheme Wheelchair manufacturer Permobil has joined the Motability Scheme in a move that will extend the range of premium power wheelchair options available for people to lease. Permobil will start by offering three comprehensive power wheelchair models, designed to meet the needs of various conditions, ranging from the valuable M1, to the versatile M3 Corpus to the high-performing M5 Corpus. All intuitive mid-wheel drives are equipped with the smooth suspension for dependable comfort and stability and compatible with Permobil´s range of seating and positioning aids. Gordon Cunningham, Permobil Country Manager, UK, commented: “Providing our innovative power wheelchairs on the Motability Scheme allows us to pursue our shared mission with Motability, to provide greater independence for every individual.” The wheelchair manufacturer also recently introduced an innovative new Voice Assistant feature to its MyPermobil app, enabling wheelchair users to access key wheelchair information verbally while at home or on the go.

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Homelifts manufacturer Stiltz has pledged its support to the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), which is urging elderly and disabled people to proceed with home adaptations using its certified trade membership scheme. After a survey by the Centre for Ageing Better revealed that almost a third of adults in their 50s and 60s are being put off from making vital home improvements because of a luck of trust in tradespeople, the BHTA called for consumers to look out for its logo on companies’ websites and literature when searching for companies that provide and install home adaptations. Lachlan Faulkner, Stiltz CCO, commented: “We are proud to display our affiliated BHTA logo which illustrates our commitment to ethics and quality service. Our number one focus will always be to enable positive living and ageing in place whilst delivering peace of mind.”

Tunstall Healthcare acquisition Healthcare technology provider Tunstall Healthcare has announced the acquisition of technology solution provider Secuvita. The transaction is expected to support Tunstall’s strategic expansion in digital solutions and services and strengthen its position in the Dutch market. Tunstall now operates in 22 countries globally, working with health, care and housing providers to support more than five million end users. Secuvita’s portfolio of products and services is complementary to Tunstalls’ as it provides telecare and access control services and technical solutions in the Netherlands and has more than 70,000 users.

Airospring Medical cushion helps home-workers cope with back pain Technical textiles maker Airospring Medical has reported that a cushion it developed to help people in wheelchairs is being snapped up by health care professionals to help them treat an increasing number of home workers complaining of back problems. The cushion was given a new lease of life due to people working from home on kitchen stools and sofas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its 3D spacer fabric technology is designed to be breathable, washable and comfortable and it has strong eco credentials too, being made using recycled plastic drinks bottles. Available in a range of contrasting colours, the cushions are also used in hospital and care home settings as they can be picked to contrast against furniture to help those with dementia identify where to sit down.


NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

New website with designs on inspiring more accessible spaces Accessible design specialist Motionspot has launched an innovative new website to support businesses looking to create accessible and inclusive buildings and services. Motionspot’s website – motionspot.co.uk – features new tools, information and products to support anyone involved in the design of the built environment to create accessible spaces that inspire are more inclusive. According to Motionspot, accessibility has meant second-rate and clinical-looking design so its aim is to create products and services which comply with building regulations without compromising on aesthetic appeal. Motionspot’s CEO Ed Warner commented: “To celebrate our ninth anniversary, we are excited to help more people create buildings and products that inspire and include.”

Easystart supports the Matt Hampson Foundation Battery supplier Easystart has been announced as the official supplier of batteries to the Matt Hampson Foundation, a charity that supports young people seriously injured through sport. Easystart, which supplies batteries for mobility scooters and power-chairs, is a long-time supporter of Matt and the charity, and recently made a very generous donation to support its work. Easystart Managing Director Cillian Brugha commented: “Everyone at Easystart hugely admires Matt as an individual, and the Foundation as a whole, for everything they do. “They are a great group of people doing amazing work for people who have had terrible accidents and the Foundation provides a fantastic platform for the beneficiaries and their families.” www.matthampsonfoundation.org/donate

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BHTS HIGHLIGHTS

In partnership with...

It’s show time! Leading manufacturers in the mobility and access trade at the British Healthcare Trade Show (BHTS) in Leeds on 15th June reported on a very successful day meeting up with both new and existing retailers. The trade-exclusive event, which was sponsored by Motion Healthcare and delivered in partnership with the British Healthcare Trades Association, THIIS Magazine and Promoting Independence, took

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place at the Weetwood Hall Estate and Conference Centre, and offered a chance for mobility equipment suppliers to reconnect with retailers in a relaxed, COVID-secure space. ENGAGING WITH TRADE Tim Mills, Head of Business for Motion Healthcare, who sponsored the British Healthcare Trade Show, commented: “I thought the environment of the event was great and a lot easier to have meaningful discussions with our

Mobility trade exhibitors and retailers alike reported on a “very successful” British Healthcare Trade Show in Leeds…

customers and new prospects visiting our stand. “In terms of efficiency, it was great being able to see all of our customers at once.” The Motion Healthcare stand featured an express hearing stand station for retailers to try out which was “very well received”, says Tim. The station enables retailers to offer a free two-minute hearing aid test in their showroom which they can earn commission on.


Proudly sponsored by

The busy Motion Healthcare stand

“We also showcased the new changes to our popular mLite,” says Tim, in reference to his firm’s lightweight folding mobility scooter, which launched last year. Rehasense UK used the trade-only event to showcase several examples from its portfolio of mobility solutions, including the recently launched Space CF rollator, Icon 35 lightweight manual wheelchairs and the Trackweel. Jordan Day, Business Development Manager at Rehasense UK, commented that it was fantastic to attend an event where it was possible to engage with members of the trade in a relaxed environment. He said: “During the day we had some extremely positive

The venue, Weetwood Hall Estate in Leeds

conversations with existing and potential retailers, all of whom commented on the quality of the product range on show. I would also like to say well done to Calvin and the team at the BHTA for organising a great day.” Josh Coles, Marketing Manager at Scooterpac, said that he found the day

to be “very positive” as a lot of dealers came up to its stand on the stage that they hadn’t seen or spoken to for a while. Josh was also excited to showcase the Invader all-terrain mobility scooter, which is due to be launched later this year. He added: “It’s been an eye catcher. Because it’s so different

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BHTS HIGHLIGHTS and there’s nothing like it on the market visitors were really impressed. “One thing we have always set out to do at Scooterpac is bring products out to market that are different, that maybe sometimes that aren’t niche but they offer a solution that no one else is offering. “It’s been so lovely to share that with people and get their feedback as well about tweaks we can do and things that need to be done to it before it comes to market.” “A GREAT LOCATION” Greg Whelan, Marketing and Product Manager at Apex Medical, considered the show a pivotal platform for the

In partnership with...

promotion of his firm’s new Apex Partner Programme. Greg commented: “The show was easy to get to and in a great location. It attracted a perfect demographic for what we intended, such as mobility store owners. “The Rota-pro Bed captured a lot of interest with the delegates. As a direct result of the show we have already signed up three new stores, each in strategic locations for our Apex Partner Programme. “The show was brilliantly organised, safely COVID managed, with plenty of space. The lead-up to it, both on the day and post show promotion, has been superb.

Josh Coles alongside Scooterpac’s latest model, the all-terrain Invader

A message from the organiser It feels wonderful to be able to say that we managed to host a live event, with actual face-toface interactions, at the British Healthcare Trade Show (BHTS). A year and a half ago, getting together as an industry to network and see new products was just one of those things we took for granted, like popping out for dinner or hopping on a flight in search of some sunshine. The pandemic, however, put paid to that. It is safe to say that the show we first conceived back in 2019 wasn’t quite the same as the show we were able to deliver. Limits to the numbers allowed into the venue and halls, rules regarding people wearing masks, as well as a one-way system, were just some of the measures that were introduced to ensure the event was COVIDsecure. Despite these measures, though, professionals in the mobility and access sectors refused to let this stand in their way. Instead,

we saw retailers and suppliers come together, see products, talk business, and find new opportunities. The sun shone and there was a great buzz as people made their way between exhibitors; it was incredible to see. And it continued to prove just how resilient the mobility and access industry is, continuously overcoming the hurdles imposed by the pandemic. The event would not have been able to happen, if not for some key parties. Firstly, the exhibitors that continued to throw their support behind the inaugural event. In particular, the show’s sponsor, Motion Healthcare, whose unwavering commitment to supporting the new event helped make it possible. Also, thank you to our partner, Promoting Independence, whose determination, organisation and expertise created an environment that was relaxed, enjoyable, yet still safe and COVID-secure.

“Most importantly, a huge thank you to all the retailers and THIIS readers who came out to show their support for the first BHTS” CALVIN BARNETT

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Most importantly, a huge thank you to all the retailers and THIIS readers who came out to show their support for the first BHTS. Without your attendance, it simply wouldn’t be possible to deliver a mobility and access trade show. It may not have been the show we first dreamed up, but it has helped lay the foundations for us to build on. Retailer panels, innovation, Dragon Den-style presentations, maybe even a THIIS Industry Awards – the sky really is the limit. So, to all that attended, and to those that didn’t get a chance, I look forward to seeing you at a future trade event soon.

Calvin Barnett is editorial director at the British Healthcare Trades Association, which organised the British Healthcare Trade Show.


Proudly sponsored by

The Handicare team enjoyed engaging with visitors

“Calvin and the team worked well to pull the show together and it was facilitated by a very helpful and energetic team from Promoting Independence.” Graham Collyer, Executive Chairman of medical equipment specialists Sumed International, was showcasing the new Integrity static cushion range on his stand. Graham said: “The BHTS has had a nice and relaxed atmosphere. People have been wondering through, wanting to chat and engage.” Lyndsey Jackson-Smith, Business Development Manager at Handicare (UK North West, Scotland & Ireland), commented that after a challenging

year for everyone in the industry, it was “extremely refreshing” to be at a real event with real people. “The profile and mix of attendees at the event was perfect for Handicare and provided a great platform for strengthening existing relationships and also making new connections across all our key routes to market. “We are great believers in giving people the opportunity to experience our mobility solutions for themselves and that’s been impossible in the ‘virtual’ world. So for visitors to be able to get hands-on with the Handicare 1100 and see their reactions was exciting. “Lots of people had heard about the

1100 and were keen to have a closer look. The referral partner scheme was also a big topic of conversation with our partners, keen to see how they could maximise the value of their connection to Handicare. “The organisers had done a fantastic job of enabling the show to take place within government guidelines. “It was a safe atmosphere for attendees and exhibitors alike, but yet still relaxed enough to encourage discussion, debate and experience new products.” NETWORKING RETAILERS Retailers also gave their thumbs-up about how the event had gone.

The Apex and Scooterpac stands

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BHTS HIGHLIGHTS

In partnership with...

Camilla Griffiths, General Manager at West Midlands-based Easy Living Mobility, said: “It was a fantastic medium-sized location. “We weren’t going with too much expectation but thought the show was very well laid out and organised. “There were a good variety of suppliers there and we as a business took so much away from the event.

The team at Rehasense UK

“There were a good variety of suppliers there and we as a business took so much away from the event”

It was great for networking and we would like to see this take place again.” Jamie McKay, Marketing Specialist at Ability Superstore in Nelson, agreed: “After over a year of mainly seeing people on Zoom and living through the uncertainty of lockdowns in a pandemic, it was fantastic to see a bit of normality returning. “The idea of having the BHTA Trade show in the north was a winning idea. The venue was stunning and the event was superbly organised with Covidsafe measures. “It was great to meet face-to-face with colleagues in the mobility aid industry that I had only been able to email. “I left Leeds feeling inspired with some ideas to take back to the team at Ability Superstore.”

“There was a real buzz in the air” Like most industries, ours has been severely disrupted by the global pandemic. Our entire way of working relies on spending time with people, getting up close and personal with products and working out how best to help our clients live the best life they possibly can. So, it’s fair to say that by the time the British Healthcare Trade Show came around, we were itching to get going. And it didn’t disappoint… With over 200 delegates attending, there was a real buzz in the air with professionals across the UK taking the opportunity to network, discover new products and make up for lost time. Special thanks must go to Motion Healthcare, which sponsored the show, and a superb networking event for 50 manufacturers, suppliers and retailers, allowing them to come together, share their experiences and get their heads together about what the future holds for our industry in the postCOVID world. In addition to the exhibition, we were treated to some firstclass content about growing a healthcare-related business, with

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Thom Smith from marketing consultancy Ideal Result sharing his strategy for successful marketing. Thom shared with us the threestep approach of ‘market, message, media’, pointing out that smart healthcare businesses shouldn’t leap from media to media without first asking the key questions: 1. Who is my market? 2. What message is most likely to appeal to them? 3. Which media do my market use and how can I use that to reach them effectively? For many business owners, it can be easy to get distracted by all the shiny new social medias, but by using Thom’s three-step approach, you can ensure that any marketing you do is thorough and is more likely to be effective as a result. Every time I go to Leeds, I enjoy it more and more. Weetwood Hall did a fantastic job at accommodating us and for the Promoting Independence Team it was a double header, with OTAC Leeds happening just two days later. The staff at Weetwood were great at making our delegates feel welcome, while ensuring safety for staff, attendees and exhibitors alike.

I’m under no illusion that the pandemic isn’t over – the world has to be vaccinated before it is. But nonetheless, the freedom to run events like the British Healthcare Trade Show couldn’t be more welcome. Too much time has been lost over the last 18 months, too many people have not been given the opportunities they deserve, and it’s time we, as healthcare professionals, manufacturers, retailers and dealers, start doing what we can to bridge that gap. I’m delighted to be a part of that movement – long may it continue.

Stuart Barrow is the director of Promoting Independence, one of the co-organisers of the British Healthcare Trade Show. He also runs the Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference.


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RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Moving and handling aids 16 / www.thiis.co.uk

Wondering which moving and handling aids are grabbing mobility companies’ attention? Each month, retailers in the mobility industry highlight one product that has stood out for them and why…


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Retailer’s Choice: Ceiling Hoist from Guldmann “Our choice would be one of the mainstay devices that has transformed the safe moving of clients at home, in institutional care and in hospital environments – the Guldmann ceiling track hoist. “There are, as you would expect, a number of hoist pods in the range based around the GH1 and GH3 formats with lifting capacities up to 500kg. “When installed with their track solutions there are very few, if any, scenarios of patient lifting that can not be overcome. Additionally, there are a number of unique track solutions that aid and assist therapy and rehabilitation. “The tracks can be configured to span up to eight metres between fixings but also have an option for concealment in to the surface of the ceiling. The overriding principle is to provide ‘Time To Care’ by removing as much risk as possible from the moving and handling process.” www.tpg-disableaids.co.uk

Alastair Gibbs Managing Director of TPG DisableAids

Retailer’s Choice: Able Assist Patient Transfer Aid from Drive DeVilbiss “Safe moving and handling of people and promoting function and mobility for as long as possible is something we take very seriously at Fortuna, which is why I’ve chosen the Able Assist Patient Transfer Aid. “Able Assist provides a safe and simple way of transferring people and is popular with both carers and users. “It’s a perfect aid for those who are able to raise from a seated to standing position (but need a little help), as their legs can be supported by the knee brace, while they hold the horizontal bar in front of them. This enables users to participate in transfers that helps retain or even improve muscle tone and boosts confidence.

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“The frame of the Able Assist is sturdy, yet easy to manoeuvre and very light, both of which are of huge benefit to carers in a domestic or care setting, helping to make transfers and moving to another room much easier. “It has a slightly smaller footprint than other models used in hospital settings and can also be wheeled directly up to a toilet (the wheels can be positioned either side of it), helping to retain the users dignity and independence. “This product ticks all the boxes when it comes to safe and effortless transfers, and is one I will continue to recommend.” www.fortunamobility.com

Elaine Ferguson Mobility Services Manager of Fortuna Mobility


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RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Invacare Stand Assist from Invacare

“The Invacare Stand Assist (ISA) is our recommendation for customers. Its choice of base models include the Plus and the Xplus, with greater weight limits up to 200kg. “The lifting arms are extendable, which helps to ensure a good fit for different sizes of user, as well as height-adjustable lower leg support. A variety of accessories are available, if required, including a choice of footplates, a leg band and protective covers for legs. “Whilst great for single users, its flexibility means that it also works well on the hire fleet, and in multi-user environments.” www.a1stairlifts.co.uk/ showroom

Gavin Sunderland Mobility Shop Manager at A1 Stairlifts & Mobility

Retailer’s Choice: Rotastand Compact from Locomotor “Ability Superstore are always looking for innovative products and the Rotastand Compact is one of our newest finds. “There are many patient turners available but what makes the Rotastand Compact stand out from the crowd is that it is portable, so that therapists can take it with them to visit clients, or patients can take it with them if they are staying with friends and family. “The Rotastand Compact is simple to fold and will easily fit into the boot of a car. Even though it is portable, it still has a maximum weight capacity of 200kg. “It is height and shin pad-adjustable, and the stabilising bar means that transfers can be made by just one person.” www.abilitysuperstore.com

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Retailer’s Choice: Invacare Birdie from Invacare "I've chosen the Invacare Birdie. Our Haverfordwest showroom is near a popular holiday destination so a lot of our customers have asked for portable patient moving products. “The Invacare Birdie can be folded and unfolded very easily, which is essential for travel. “We provide the Invacare Birdie as a short-term hire product as well, which is very popular in the summer when customers are looking to travel and enjoy their holiday without barriers." www.snowdrop independentliving.co.uk

Julia Phipps Owner of Ability Superstore

Clifford Payne Regional Manager at Snowdrop Independent Living


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RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Molift Smart 150 Hoist “We are always looking for products to improve our customers’ way of life and with our recent partnership with Etac R82 and their related brands, we can offer so much more. “We believe the Molift Smart 150 Hoist is one product that does just that and improves many people’s life by helping with everything that most of us take for granted. “With its lightweight design and small footprint, it means assisting people in and out of bed, from a wheelchair into a car or any other assisted transfer, is effortless. Its lightweight and easy-fold design means that not only can it be transported around the house but also taken with you to visit friends or family as it comes with the option of a travel case or bag.” www.classicmobility.org.uk

Lauren Bromfield Occupational Therapist at Classic Mobility

Retailer’s Choice: Hygeenie High Back Sling from Osprey Sling Company “As a popular product within our Ableworld Specialist department, the Hygeenie sling is designed as an alternative to a standard toileting sling, with additional features that address common complex issues sometimes found with general toileting slings. “It is designed with a high back support, and has a unique feature of deep underarm cutouts, making it safer to use as it allows the user to have their arms on the outside without dragging, which can occur in traditional toileting slings. “With a wipe-clean fabric and availability in multiple sizes, the Hygeenie is ideal for transportation of the user between bed to toilet or commode. “Overall, the features of extra support, dignity and safety for both the user and care provider is what makes the Hygeenie sling a firm favourite moving and handling product of ours.” www.ableworld.co.uk

Ellie Barnett Online Marketing Manager at Ableworld (UK)

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GUEST ARTICLE

The need for British innovation Innovation is key to the whole of the healthcare, research and scientific sector and now really is the time to invest in our talent from a national and local level, writes Graham Ewart, CEO of Direct Healthcare Group...

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“Delivering genuine innovation is at the very heart of everything we do” GRAHAM EWART

To say this past 18 months has been unprecedented would be to play it down. The healthcare sector has experienced extraordinary challenges and the greatest pressure I’ve witnessed in my lifetime and perhaps in the NHS’s 73 year history. Yet despite the clear urgency for improvements across the board in staffing, wages and capacity, the impact of the crisis has also unveiled the stark need for ongoing innovation in the sector. For us, on the face of it, it would appear we’ve had a very positive year. Our financials have exceeded forecasts to anticipate a 45 per cent growth for 2021. We’ve grown our market share to 15 per cent across Europe for our sector and we were humbled to be awarded

the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for services to International Trade, just five years after the receiving the same recognition for Enterprise in Innovation. The Sunday Times’s Profit Track 2021 also positioned Direct Healthcare Group (DHG) as having the fastest growing profit for any UK private business and we have been named number four on its International Track for our export successes. In just 10 years, we’ve grown from a company with one product, solely focused on the UK, to one with a portfolio of products and trading in more than 40 countries across the globe. On top of this, we have played a key role in the UK over the past

18 months, working with 35 Trusts across the country to equip the NHS with over 3,000 surfaces and beds during the crisis, in addition to providing emergency rentals and equipment to four of the Nightingale hospitals. We are proud that our solutions have been of huge benefit to the NHS in this difficult time, helping patients and saving valuable time and resources. DIGGING DEEP However, underneath the surface, like most across the sector, we have had to dig deep, change strategy in order to optimise opportunities and invest to ensure we not only survive but thrive through this crisis. A significant part of this has

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GUEST ARTICLE

been our continued investment in innovation and within our R&D department, without which we would be half the business we are today. Forty per cent of our revenues stem directly from our own patented products – many of which have won prestigious industry awards – and as such we continue to ensure this department leads our strategy. Like all others, our sole goal is to work in conjunction with healthcare professionals, helping to provide better health outcomes for those in need, wherever they live. Delivering genuine innovation that makes a real difference to both patients and the lives of our hardworking healthcare professionals is at the very heart of everything we do. We strive daily to prevent healthcare problems associated with reduced patient movement, anticipating, managing, and, in many cases, resolving these challenges to support care providers and those they care for. We know how imperative movement is to human health and

quality of life, and the cognitive role it plays in rehabilitation and mental health. Our products are used in acute care and home environments around the world and we are proud that the developments coming through our R&D department continue to transform the way healthcare is provided and increase the life-quality of patients in their hundreds of thousands.

Let the Powerpack do the pushing Incredibly easy to fit and simple to remove Designed and made in the UK Range of up to 10 miles

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In a study of over 500,000 patients placed on over 4,000 of our DynaForm Mercury Advance mattresses across 12 NHS sites, it was found that the mattress led to a 56 per cent sustainable decrease in pressure ulcer incidence rates, drastically improving patient health outcomes and health economics. Not only did this particular product revolutionise the way in


which pressure ulcer prevention is delivered, but it has enabled less need for patient handling, reducing stress on the patient and freeing up time for carers – the latter a need that has been dramatically revealed in the past 18 months. Given the success of the Dyna-Form Mercury Advance, our R&D facility is now developing this product further as we plan to release a new updated and market-changing system later this year. It is exactly these results that we strive to achieve on a daily basis through innovation, but this is just one example. There are multiple areas where, as a sector, we are failing to move forward, partly due to access to new research and an understandable disinclination from customers to adopt new innovation where investments are needed (despite benefits being demonstrable). Part of resolving this issue at DHG, and in addition to benchmarking an investment of over €250,000 for 2021 to purchase necessary testing equipment for the ongoing ISO 20342 project, we have also stepped up collaborations with organisations across the world, including the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre, a global hub of exD facilities and an essential resource to us.

develop and foster innovation and to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse population, fulfil urgent requirements and improve clinical outcomes. After all, there is no exclusivity on ideas and we must be open to receiving them from everywhere. Some of our best innovations have started as small thoughts from our customers or junior colleagues and, together with our R&D teams, have grown to become products which have truly changed the lives of patients across the world. But, we need this notion to be UKwide in order to truly compete on a global scale, drive the sector and healthcare provision forward and prevent global counterparts surging ahead. And while the pandemic has brought significant challenges, we’ve also seen how it can open opportunities and signal where improvements must and need to be made. The success of the vaccine rollout

“We must now all work together to embed a culture of innovation” GRAHAM EWART

here in the UK is just one example and testament to the importance of home-grown talent and research. It has allowed us to forge ahead to protect our most vulnerable, whilst also maintaining control over the management of the rollout and supply, issues which have become substantial in markets relying on international partners to lead the way. Innovation is key to the whole of the healthcare, research and scientific sector and now really is the time to invest in our talent, from a national and local level, to prevent catastrophic challenges in the future even greater than those we’ve faced recently and to showcase how the very best of British and can help transform the lives of those across the world.

Graham Ewart is CEO of Direct Healthcare Group (DHG), a global leader in the manufacture and provision of medical devices, products and solutions for patients with limited mobility.

A NEED TO INVEST IN TALENT As a sector that has been thrust into the forefront of global survival, we must now all work together to embed a culture of innovation from top to bottom. I believe if we are to ensure the UK remains at the very edge of innovation across healthcare as a whole, we must continue to look outside our own office walls to learn,

Call to find out more

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www.thiis.co.uk / 27


RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

Rob Cartledge, Director of Derbyshire Mobility

Derbyshire Mobility: Offering the right prescription Rob Cartledge took over the running of Derbyshire Mobility six years ago. His father started the business from his home in 1998, when the business was then known as Derby Mobility Services. A shop unit in Ripley was purchased and his dad worked there for 15 years. Rob was working as a marketing consultant prior to working at his dad’s shop. His job involved helping to reshape and rebrand businesses as

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well as updating websites, all skills which would equip him well for his future role. EXPANDING ON SPACE When Rob first started working in the sector, he noticed the need to provide an enjoyable experience for customers spending large amounts of money, similar to if they were buying car. “We want customers to come in and have a nice experience,” he says.

A family-run mobility business with 23 years’ experience selling and advising on mobility scooters, stairlifts, reclining furniture and powerchairs, Derbyshire Mobility has its eyes firmly set on the future. The retailer is expanding its stores, services and product offering, recruiting staff and looking at ways to improve the experience of customers entering its stores in Ripley and Matlock.

“We want customers to come in and have a nice experience. It’s important that they have the space to move around as they make a decision” ROB CARTLEDGE


RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

“It’s important that they have the space to move around as they make a decision. Maybe they would like to have a coffee with us…” When Rob took over the store as the new managing director, the Ripley store was still in the same condition it was in when his dad bought it, so one of his first decisions was to completely refurbish it. The refurbishment of Derbyshire Mobility’s Ripley store took three months, with the walls all knocked down to make one big open space that could accommodate more products, such as scooters, wheelchairs, recliner chairs, and so on. The shop now accommodates around 15-20 scooters. All the while, Rob was aiming for a

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clean and uncluttered look: “I just wanted white walls, wooden floors and our blue branding on show, without any marketing, such as pointof-sale posters, on the walls.” “We’ve just always found that if you want to sell more, you need to get more products in for customers to choose from,” he explains. “If people come in and they can only see two or three scooters they are likely to want to go somewhere else.” Having a bigger showroom with more products available for customers to make comparisons would “hopefully” mean that they don’t want to go anywhere else, he comments.

OPENING IN MATLOCK The refurbishment of the second store, located in in the tourist town of Matlock, only took a couple of months with no major work needed apart from a few walls pulled down. The store was ready in October 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented it from opening then. Fortunately, the business itself remained opened as it was deemed ‘essential’, with Rob and his team carrying out customer appointments via its Ripley store. Officially opening on April 12th this year, the Matlock store has been a “resounding success so far.” Rob says that they he is planning to open two more stores, also


The showroom in Ripley offers a wide selection of products

JOINING MOTABILITY Derbyshire Mobility is pretty new to the Motability Scheme, having had the contract for just under a year. “We got awarded Motability as lockdown hit,” says Rob, who explains that his store had to meet a number of requirements to become part of the scheme. “Stores have got to offer a broad range of products and staff must have good product knowledge,” he says. Staff at Derbyshire Mobility were booked in for training with Motability in April 2020, Rob explains, but the nationwide lockdown meant that they had to complete this at the end of that year. Consequently, the team only began to start pushing the scheme this year. “It’s gone well for us since we started and its already building momentum,” says Rob. One of the things that [Motability] really liked, remarks Rob, was the fact that the business offers client assessments for bespoke wheelchair seating, which can be offered through a ‘complex wheelchair’ part of the scheme.

he began to find that the pressures of running a business made it difficult to devote as much time to it as it needed. For this reason, Rob recently took on a new wheelchair and seating specialist, Craig Vernon (see boxout, p34). Craig had previously spent 12 years working at Clark and Partners, a mobility firm supplying the Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire areas. After some discussions with Craig, Rob knew that he was “the right fit for the business.” And so it has proven. In fact, it was through Craig that Derbyshire Mobility recently came to be involved with sponsoring Hull & East Yorkshire Powerchair Football Club, supplying tyres to its first team and providing support for equipment repairs. Says Rob: “Craig had prescribed wheelchairs to a couple of the lads on the team. So we’re hoping to meet them when COVID restrictions allow. “With Craig coming from Yorkshire, and the company being based in South Yorkshire, it might just help us grow that particular area as well.” Rob says that Derbyshire Mobility is also recruiting for a couple more roles, including an administrative assistant and a stairlift engineer.

THE RIGHT PRESCRIPTION Certainly, the prescription side of the business has been working out well for the firm. It is an area that has always interested Rob and he even underwent training in it, although

STORE BESTSELLERS Aside from becoming part of the Motability Scheme, the store has branched out successfully into other product lines, such as bespoke furniture and stairlifts.

Getting people to come in, to see and try things is the most important thing in this industry.”

The new glass-fronted store in Matlock

in Derbyshire, in 2022 and he is currently researching possible units. He explains that he is looking to move to the store to another level. “We’re trying to find the right unit based on what the unit offers rather than its location.” Car parking space, square footage and storage space are the most important areas. Rob currently has different products displayed in the two stores, so that customers have a wider choice, but going forward, and as the number of stores increases, the plan is to ultimately offer a more consistent range throughout the stores. He explains: “Expanding our range of stock benefits customers, including those who use the Motability Scheme.

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RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

Mobility scooters are a big seller for Derbyshire Mobility

The store offers stairlift brands such as Handicare, Access BDD, Brooks and Bruno, and as it employs its own stairlift engineers to help fit and maintain them for customers, it does not need to outsource. The pandemic has “definitely” influenced the type of customer coming into his stores and the type of products being bought, Rob notes. They are mainly families, he says, who come in and are looking after elderly parents with mobility issues.

They are also prepared to spend more money on the right products to get them mobile again. “We have noticed that rather than coming in and buying one thing, customers are coming to buy a recliner chair and a scooter, or a chair and a bed,” Rob says. “They want mum and dad to come out with them on days out as well, so they are encouraging them to buy walkers, wheelchairs or mobility scooters.”

The shop has invested quite heavily in expanding its wheelchair offering but Rob admits that when they have more space, they would like to expand its furniture offering as well, once space allows. This being said, Derbyshire Mobility is essentially a scooter dealer, Rob explains. Scooters that sell well, he says, tend to be aluminium-framed, lightweight, powered with lithium batteries and foldable. Pavement scooters, such as the Freerider Mayfair, have been particularly popular for the firm. DIGITAL CHALLENGES While many mobility retailers are turning their focus towards ecommerce, having footfall coming into shops is the most important thing for Rob.

Darren Fox helps to run the Ripley branch

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“We don’t want to sell online. It’s not what we’re in it for. We want people into the stores” ROB CARTLEDGE


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RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

Clients can be assessed for bespoke wheelchair seating

The store offers all the major stairlift brands and a handy after-care service

“We don’t want to sell online,” he says. “It’s not what we’re in it for. We want people in the stores. We’re really focusing on that now, rather than a race to the bottom with online sellers. “We’d rather get a margin that we feel that our stores deserve. This means that we can pay our staff a good wage and keep re-investing in the business.” Fortunately, the store has been quite lucky in that it has been successful in attracting people to its stores in both Ripley and Matlock. But that’s not to say that the business disregards having an online presence. In fact, it is quite the opposite and the marketing budget goes straight onto the website, says Rob. “We’re trying to change the feel of our website again as we want it to be

more lifestyle-based.” Rob is keen to do more active marketing as well, he says, but he has found running a digital database with an older clientele can be more of a challenge, as he is keen for this not to be interpreted as pressure selling. Rob says that he feels optimistic about the future of mobility retail and believes that it is those who are keeping active in the market that are really benefiting right now. “We know a lot of other companies who have remarked on how quiet it is, but it’s not. It feels like a good market to be in. “There’s a lot of business out there and it’s ever-changing. There’s always new products coming out and every day you meet a new type of customer. www.derbymobility.co.uk

The store plans to expand further on its furniture offering

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New to the team Craig Vernon recently joined Derbyshire Mobility as Wheelchair and Seating Specialist. Craig ensures that wheelchairs are the correct size and adjusted properly for the customers he assesses, including those with specialist pressure care requirements and specific seating needs. Commenting on Craig’s appointment, Rob Cartledge says: “With 12 years experience in this role, the customer is in good hands with him and he represents us really well.” Craig adds: “When speaking to Rob, I realised the ambition of the company and it was something I really wanted to be involved in. Bringing my experience and skillset to the existing team has been really rewarding. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for us.”


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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT The Flow X works well with a narrow or complicated staircase

Access BDD: Getting into the Flow

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Stairlift and home lift supplier Access Business Development Division (Access BDD) has been specialising in making private and public buildings more accessible for over 30 years. In a competitive market, the firm has steadily evolved over the years, undergoing a rebrand in 2019, expanding its reach globally and launching new products, such as the Flow X stairlift – launched earlier this year. THIIS caught up with Adam Wakes, Marketing Manager at Access BDD, to find out more…


In development for almost five years, Access BDD introduced the Flow X stairlift at the beginning of this year. Manufactured in Holland, it is the third curved Adam Wakes, stairlift to use Marketing Manager the Flow family at Access BDD name. The original Flow stairlift launched in 1999 and this was followed by the introduction of the Flow 2 in 2006. Marketing Manager Adam Wakes, who has been working for the firm for nine years, explains that the Flow 2 was a “very advanced stairlift” for its time and offered superb reliability and build quality. The main difference between the Flow 2 and the new Flow X is the aesthetic design features and ergonomics, he explains. “Unlike many stairlifts, the Flow X is not a modular or an off-the-shelf product but a truly tailor-made stairlift with every model made to measure to ensure the perfect fit for the user. “ For example, says Adam, the seat has been specifically designed with a five-degree angle for a better seating position, enhancing upright posture and comfort. “At the same time, the armrests do not flip up but pivot outwards. This allows people with different levels of mobility to safely access the stairlift, and if they need to transfer from a wheelchair or are unable to sit down independently, there is adequate space for a carer or family member to assist.” The ergonomics of the armrests have also been designed to be similar to that of a walking stick to ensure

it is easy to grip and control, while the integrated joystick is designed to neatly fold into the armrest when not in use, Adam comments. “If space at the top and bottom of the staircase is an issue, the seat and footrests can automatically fold away – all these little touches add up to create what we believe is a nextgeneration curved stairlift solution.”

“If space at the top and bottom of the staircase is an issue, the seat and footrests can automatically fold away”

TECHNOLOGICAL FEATURES One of the main advantages with the Flow X is that it features ASL (Advanced Swivel and Levelling) technology, which was also available on the Flow 2. “This enables the stairlift to rotate and swivel during travel, ensuring that the stairlift is always in the safest and most comfortable position,” comments Adam. “Another benefit of ASL technology is that it allows the footrest to remain independent from the drive unit and swivel with the seat. “This allows the user to sit comfortably as they do not have to bend their knees as much, which helps with better posture.”

The ASL technology is unique to Access BDD, he says, and the swivelling-while-travelling function is fully patent protected. “Another feature of ASL is that it enables us to keep the rail lower to the ground as sometimes, on a bend, the rail will have to rise up, but with the Flow X, that is not necessary.” There are four rail options available: standard drop nose, vertical ‘short-start’ drop nose, horizontal overrun and parking curve. Unlike some models, there are no mechanical parts on show. There are other useful ergonomic features with the Flow X too, explains Adam. “Dealers and surveyors often

ADAM WAKES

The armrests of the Flow X do not flip up but pivot outwards

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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

ASL Technology gives the Flow X a unique swivelling-while-travelling function

comment that when assessing a narrow or complicated staircase, they know a Flow X will be perfect as it can be fitted on stairs as narrow as 610mm, which helps put the end user’s mind at rest immediately. “The dealer also knows that they will have a solution for the customer in their product portfolio before they even attend the property.” Adam explains that the firm collaborated with London-based design studio Pearson Lloyd over the design of the Flow X (see sidebar, p40). As the studio came from a completely different environment to the mobility industry, it had some really fresh ideas, he says. “The studio certainly seemed to relish the challenge of working on something out of their comfort zone, and we were delighted with the end result.” PLAYING IT STRAIGHT At present, Access BDD is seeing a real boom in both its straight stairlifts (HomeGlide) and the Flow X in the UK, enthuses Adam. Meanwhile, there is a growing demand for platform and

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home lifts internationally, especially in the Middle East. “This could be due to the fact that more and more new developments are featuring multi-storey villas, so it makes sense to incorporate the installation of a home lift at the design and build stage, especially if the owners will have elderly relatives living with them.” Another growing market for homelifts, he adds, is India. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for the firm, as with many in the mobility and access sector, has been managing the increase in demand for products, especially with the delays that many have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Access BDD enjoys excellent relationships with its factory and dealers which has helped to manage any issues that may arise, says Adam. But of course, as with any business, there have had to be many adjustments in its way of working over the past year. “The sudden need to work from home took some time to adjust to,

but I would like to think that this had no adverse effect on the company,” comments Adam. “Despite the pandemic, we went ahead with the launch of the Flow X at the beginning of the year, which took the form of an internal event that was filmed and then used for a video launch which was extremely well received. “Our sales team have been equipped with small demo units, which are proving very popular, and I am delighted to say that more often than not when someone sees the Flow X, they love it. “We support all our dealers with training and technical support, and to

“ASL technology is that it allows the footrest to remain independent from the drive unit and swivel with the seat” ADAM WAKES


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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT overcome the lack of travel, we set up a studio from which we carry out live training and support sessions.”

Designing the Flow X Stairlift Luke Pearson, Co-Founder of Pearson Lloyd, discusses the process involved with designing the latest addition to Access BDD’s Flow range… “For most design studios, designing a stairlift is far from the top of their to-do list – but that’s precisely what attracted Pearson Lloyd to the project. Today’s design world focuses on the creation of attention-grabbing, marketingdriven products, rather than solving real-life problems. “As a result, aesthetic and user-centred innovation in less glamorous product categories such as medical and mobility tends to come slowly, if at all. A stairlift is a product of necessity, not aspiration. Few people actively want a stairlift in their home so, historically, few studios have wanted to design one. “The Flow X design is the result of Access BDD’s international competition to find a design team to create the next generation of stairlift. As the winning agency, Pearson Lloyd saw opportunities both for user-centred design and to aesthetically reinvent an overlooked product, hoping to overcome the wider stigma attached to the stairlift by both designers and consumers. “The innovative folding

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mechanism at the centre of Pearson Lloyd’s design both enhances the ergonomic function and reduces the impact Flow X has in the home of discerning customers. “Pearson Lloyd’s furniture design experience ensured sensitive integration of technology into an ergonomic experience. For example, the innovative armrests include a pre-programmed emergency call button linked to a household or mobile phone. “At Pearson Lloyd, we accepted the challenge to design the nextgeneration stairlift as we saw that it was a product category that deserves the highest level of design thinking. “Mobility solutions are unfairly overlooked by the design community but with Flow X we hope to de-stigmatise the sector with an empathetic and contemporary approach to ergonomics and user-interface design. “Our approach drew from our extensive experience rethinking the home, the office and aviation seating over the last two decades. Here, we are designing for our future selves.”

ENTERING THE US MARKET Last year was strange for everyone with the lockdowns being enforced across the global market and no one really knew what to expect, explains Adam, but sales figures for the firm have remained strong. “Especially over the last six months with a yearon-year increase of 20 per cent,” adds Adam.  Access BDD currently sells its products through a network of carefully selected dealers in excess of 50 countries around the world, with each territory being supported by designated sales, sales office and technical managers. Next on Access BDD’s plan is to enter the US market, which Adam says will undoubtedly be a challenge, albeit an exciting one. “The US stairlift market is one of the largest stairlifts market in the world, if not the largest. We are currently finalising the certification for Flow X in the US as there are specific differences in technical requirements between the UK and the US. “Melissa Davies, who has been managing the Canadian dealer network for two years, has recently been promoted to a new role that will involve overseeing the US launch.” The company also has plans to update its HomeGlide straight stairlift later this year, with availability expected early next year. Adam adds: “There is a pending update to conformity that all stairlift manufacturers will have to abide by, including specific requirements such as having an emergency call device, seatbelt detection and an emergency stop button. “Some manufacturers will have to update their models to meet these new criteria, however, Flow X already meets these standards.” For more information on the full range of access solutions available from Access BDD or to discuss potential dealer opportunities, please call 01642 853 650, email info@accessbdd.com or visit www.accessbdd.com


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LET’S GET IT CLEAR

What makes a good positioning belt? Part I: The Anatomy of a belt Let’s start with a reminder that positioning belts are not to be confused with ‘safety’ belts, as used in vehicles, which are made available as restraints. Positioning belts are intended to help position the individual to assist them in postural control and normal dayto-day functions, whereas vehicular restraints are there to restrain the body from flying out of the seat in a traffic accident. The applications, and therefore the designs, are very different for the two different types of belt and should not be confused with each other. Postural support devices (PSDs) are medical devices designed to control body movements, either blocking, minimising, or guiding movements of specific body segments to achieve desired outcomes, while including safety within the seating system. Typical outcomes include increased sitting stability, maintained or corrected posture, increased reach, enhanced propulsion of a mobility

Dr Barend ter Haar has been involved in seating and mobility for over 30 years, including lecturing internationally and developing international seating and decontamination standards.

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In previous issues of THIIS, the Let’s Get it Clear series covered ‘What makes a good cushion?’ over six parts. Equally important components of many seating systems are the postural support devices (PSDs) provided with the seating to complement the cushion and back support elements. This is the first in a series of articles covering PSDs, where we look at the design of different components of a positioning belt to ensure optimal results for the user...

device, or maintenance of a desired seated position for safety purposes (including prevention of falls from the chair). In many cases, the purpose of a PSD can be a combination of one or all of these factors. PELVIC POSITIONING BELTS Before other PSDs (e.g. ankle or shoulder supports) can be issued, the individual will need a pelvic positioning belt and we will therefore be concentrating on these here. Position and control of the pelvis is critical to postural alignment and control and there’s potentially a lot of movement to control. The lowest vertebra in the spinal column, L5, is attached to the top of the pelvis. The pelvis has scope to rotate in three dimensions: posteriorly and anteriorly as viewed from the side; obliquely to the left or right when viewed from the front; and rotationally when viewed from above. All these movements get translated into the spine via the L5 vertebra. Postural reflexes drive people to strive to maintain their centre of gravity within this base of support. Due to the connection of L5 to the top of the pelvis, any change in pelvic position in turn affects the shape of the spinal column. For example, when the pelvis tilts posteriorly, forward flexion tends to occur in the spine leading to a kyphotic posture. When the pelvis rotates obliquely (in the frontal plane), this usually causes lateral flexion of the spine leading to a

scoliotic posture. The positioning of the pelvis is therefore also critical for the alignment of the spine. Some of these ‘asymmetries’ are unavoidable (or ‘fixed’) and, from time-to-time, some are desirable. The important element is to control them appropriately and that is why the selection and placement of flexible PSDs is so important (see BS 86251). The position of the pelvis also greatly changes the distribution of interface pressures between the occupant and any support surfaces, especially the seat cushion and back support. This is an important consideration for the prevention of pressure injuries. A pelvic positioning belt is employed to bring as much control as


Figure 1. The components of a pelvic positioning belt

KEY A – Flexible PSD width B – Flexible PSD padded length C – Flexible PSD pad width

possible to the pelvis, to the benefit of many other parts of the body, and for functional activity. THE FLEXIBLE POSITIONING BELT The key components of a flexible positioning belt are the webbing, the padding under the webbing, the buckle (or other closure), and the means to fix the belt to the seating system. Closures and mounting systems are covered in more detail in later articles in this series. A description of the components of the belt are described in Figure 1. WEBBING The webbing materials need to be strong enough to be able to withstand the forces applied to them by the chair’s occupant, adjustable for a good fit, and non-slip so that they stay in place. BS 86251 requires that the belts be tested to ISO 16840-32, which covers static and repetitive load tests. Amongst the pass/fail criteria is one that specifies that the belt should not slip more than 10 mm under the repetitive load test. In selecting an appropriate belt, the belt length needs to be long enough to be able to thread through the end fittings at the belt mounting points. The webbing width (i.e. flexible PSD width: A in Fig. 1) can come in different sizes: up to 25 mm ±3 mm is Small; 26 mm to 38 mm ±3 mm is Medium; and 39 mm to 50 mm ±3 mm is Large (from BS 86251). PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION Pressure distribution or redistribution, e.g. by padding, surface contours, or elastic fabrics, should be provided where the belt

Flexible PSD length: the distance from one end of the webbing to the other when the PSD is laid flat

interacts with the occupant’s body, in order to protect the occupant from harm from the webbing materials (e.g. where it might come in contact with bony prominences or where significant force is applied over soft tissues). Material selection by the manufacturer is critically important. The pressure distribution elements should be designed to follow the contours of the occupant’s body and to dissipate evenly the forces of the support on the occupant’s body. The design should not allow any curling of the padded support such that the forces would no longer follow the contours of the occupant’s body. Where edging is applied to the pad to stop fraying of the pad, the edging material should not provide a risk to the tissue integrity of the occupant – from wrinkling or other deformations, or from localised pressure points. PADDING PLACEMENT Where the belt is placed across the occupant’s thighs, to maximise pressure redistribution, the pad needs to wrap around the thighs to the most lateral points of the thighs – see Figure 2. When selecting the belt to be issued, this distance should

Figure 2. Body measurement needed to size a positioning belt’s pad length

then be used to give the dimension of the ‘flexible PSD pad length’ (B in Figure 1) when the belt is in place and tightened up. FURTHER SAFETY The newly published revision of ISO 16840-103 covers the flammability testing of PSDs and gives specific guidance as to the process for testing the resistance to ignition of belts and harnesses. DO NO HARM Behind the philosophy of prescribing equipment that ‘does no harm’, being aware of the standards for testing the safety of the prescribed products, the qualities of the materials employed, and the products’ use to alleviate or prevent harm is an essential part of professional equipment provision. Knowing what to look for, and indeed challenging restrictions on the availability of equipment for prescription, is essential for the well-being of your clients. Using the guidance within the latest standards ensures that you can be confident, however, in your decisions. References 1 BS 8625:2019 Selection, placement and fixation of flexible postural support devices in seating. Specification 2 ISO 16840-3 Wheelchair seating — Part 3: Determination of static, impact, and repetitive load strengths for postural support devices 3 ISO 16840-10:2021 Wheelchair Seating — Part 10: Resistance to ignition of postural support devices — Requirements and test methods

‘Let’s Get it Clear’ by Dr Barend ter Haar This series of articles explores aspects in the world of posture and mobility where there are common misconceptions, and myths to be addressed, to help promote better practice. Further items can be found at www.beshealthcare.net If you are interested in receiving further information on the topic, please contact: barend@beshealthcare.net

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Buyers’ guide to moving and handling Oxford Switch from Joerns Healthcare Designed to help a person with reduced mobility stand from a seated position and enable their transfer to another surface, the Oxford Switch encourages users to participate in the standing process, improving strength and function. With a safe working load of 180kg, the Oxford Switch maintains a compact footprint and can be wheeled and stored with ease. For convenience, it quickly separates into two components for ease of transportation. The Oxford Switch has a standard five-year warranty and can be used in conjunction with the Oxford Patient Handling Belt for additional support when standing and during transfer. Contact Joerns Healthcare and ask about its summer promotion on 0344 811 1158 or send an email to info@joerns.co.uk for more product information. www.joerns.co.uk

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Each month, discover key products from a different segment of the mobility market to consider offering to customers


Introducing TechTool your personal technical expert only a click away!

TechTool is a free-to-use portal where you can access detailed faultfinder guides for the Handicare 1000, 2000 and Freecurve models.

0844 225 3121

handicaretechtool.com


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Security Pole & Grab Bar from Able2 Easy to install, this tensionmounted pole and grab bar is ideal in the living room, bathroom or bedroom for additional security when getting up or lowering down due to the stepped hand grips. The 360° rotation enables the user to place the grips exactly where they need them for convenience. www.able2.uk

In-Situ Slings with Universal D-anserclip in Silva-Superfine Plus fabric from Silvalea The Silvalea Universal D-anserclip® is a patented universal fitting clip that has been tested on many clip-fixing hoists on the market. The physical click-on and click-off action ensures security that the clip is engaged with the spreader bar and offers extra peace of mind for the caregiver and patient. The Silvalea range of clip fixing slings includes Silvalea’s spacer SilvaSuperfine Plus fabric options for comfortable in-situ use. www.silvalea.com

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Hammock Sling from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare This hammock-style long seat sling is designed for amputees and individuals who are not comfortable in a divided leg sling. The standard model sling is suitable for those with good neck stability. To be applied on the bed, the sling has additional quilting to the lower edge to enhance comfort during transfers. The model with an integral head support panel is ideal for individuals who require head and neck support. Drive’s Hammock and Universal slings are available in different materials for different patients and environments. The mesh slings feature soft and pliable material, predominantly used for bathing as the material drains and dries easily. The polyester slings have low friction, making the sling easy to apply and remove.

Classic Universal Sling from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare

www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

Drive’s universal all-purpose sling offers a ‘FastFit’ application with padded leg support for additional comfort during transfers. The standard model is a multipurpose sling, which is suitable for individuals with good neck stability and maintains an upright sitting position during transfers. The model with an integral head support panel is ideal for individuals who require head and neck support to help maintain an upright sitting position during transfers. All standard slings have colour coded edges to easily determine their size: Blue = Extra Large, Green = Large, Yellow = Medium, and Red = Small. Additionally, all slings have colour-coded positional loops to offer different seating positions. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Multi-Mover Slide Sheets from NRS Healthcare The comfortable NRS Healthcare Multi-Mover Slide Sheets are made from ultra-slippery material, enabling healthcare professionals and carers to easily position and transfer patients. The multipack includes three popular sizes of tubular slide sheet, each of which is easily identified by their bright primary colour. They are machine-washable up to 74°C. www.nrshealthcare.co.uk

Molift Air 200 from Etac R82 Molift Air 200 hoist is a flexible, compact and powerful hoist optimised for long-term care. Its light and the quick-release function makes it is easy to install and service. Etac R82 is looking for new Molift dealers, particularly in South and South East England. Call 0121 561 2222 or email enquiries@etac.uk.R82.com www.etac.com/uk

Silva-Superfine with Coolmax Patient Slings Fabric from Silvalea A unique fabric to Silvalea, the Silva-Superfine sling range with Coolmax offers a perfect in-situ sling for structured chairs. The light, durable fabric has a two-way stretch to help mould to individual body shapes and is ideal for paediatric moving and handling. The Coolmax properties help to wick away moisture and assist in keeping the client cool. Silva-Superfine is a registered trademark of Silvalea. Coolmax is a trademark of The LYCRA Company. www.silvalea.com/silvalea-materials

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Silvalea has been the front runner of the patient sling market since 1993. In 2019, Silvalea became part of the Savaria family with a shared ethos of innovation, inclusion and independence. During this time, Silvalea have become the face of the Savaria patient hoists within the British, European and Australian marketplace. purpose sling choices, case studies, overhead hoists by Savaria and our new dedicated online customer portal. The new website offers more information than ever before including sling drawings, measurements, instructions of use videos, sling data sheets and much more, enabling our customers to gain extra confidence in their sling choice. Savaria and Silvalea have the same drive for providing the highest quality products and a passion behind enriching the daily lives of patients across the world. Silvalea are pleased to showcase our new streamlined website. Showcasing the best of our specialised and general

Gary Bevan, Silvalea Managing Director, stated that “The website offers the very best of over 25 years trading experience to ultimately provide the best platform of products and information for our customers and caregivers alike”, he adds “The Silvalea Team are on standby to help everyone navigate the

website and gain access to their customer portals.’’ Despite the new look, our team remain focused on providing the core values of our company’s legacy in providing specialised sling solutions and always ensuring our core values remain for innovation, inclusion and independence in the world of moving and handling. Stephanie Cotgrave, Marketing & Graphic Designer added that “The new streamlined look and website offers a cleaner and easier platform to navigate for our customers and we will continue to add and develop the site further based on customer feedback and market needs.” Working alongside our technical team headed up

by Amanda Jenkins and Julie Robertson, who have been able to provide 40+ years’ experience between them, has enabled Silvalea to showcase the best technical information available to help assist caregivers in sling choice and after sales support. The Silvalea team look forward to welcoming you to our new website and seeing all our colleagues and partners at trade shows and exhibitions as soon as we can safely do so. For the latest Silvalea updates, download our new App and follow us on social media.

www.silvalea.com Social icon

Circle Only use blue and/or white. For more details check out our Brand Guidelines.


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Guldmann GHZ from Guldmann The GHZ is a discreet lifting module that ensures safe and comfortable lifts and an ergonomically safe working environment for care staff. The lifting module runs along the traverse rail, minimising the embedding dimensions and allowing extra lifting height, which can be helpful in rooms with low ceilings. www.guldmann.com/uk

Luxury Toilet Sling from Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare The Luxury Toilet Sling is strong yet comfortable. It is specifically designed to allow access for toileting, dressing and personal hygiene care. This standard model is suitable for individuals with good trunk and neck stability and maintains an upright sitting position during transfers. The model with an integral head and trunk support panel is ideal for individuals who require additional neck support and to help maintain an upright sitting position during transfers. All of Drive’s standard slings are equipped with positioning handles to assist the carer to position and apply the sling to the user. Each standard sling also comes with padded legs for optimum comfort. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

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Atlas 3 Transfer Disc Exclusively designed by NRS, the NEW Atlas 3 Transfer Disc is the latest iteration of the hugely successful range of Atlas Transfer Devices, improving comfort and ease-of-use.

Easy to manoeuvre, the NEW Atlas 3 Transfer Disc provides assistance when rising from and lowering to a seated position, or seat-to-seat transfers.

NEW AND IMPROVED PRODUCT FEATURES • MUW 190Kg / 30 Stone • New knee pads feature greater lateral support and improved comfort • New handle provides a better grip for the carer

Height adjustable handle and knee pads ensure comfort for both the user and the carer, whilst the slip resistant base makes it safer and more secure to use and operate.

NEW MODEL

The Atlas 3 Transfer Disc provides assistance when rising from and lowering to a seated position, or seat-to-seat transfers.

For more information please contact your local Regional Sales Manager or the NRS Healthcare Customer Service Team

0345 121 8111 customerservice@nrshealthcare.co.uk www.nrshealthcare.co.uk


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Oxford Midi 180 from Joerns Healthcare The Oxford Midi hoist’s compact footprint and impressive feature set is ideally suited to home and care home environments where space comes at a premium. Its intelligent, on-board diagnostic controls provide invaluable

operational data via the integrated LCD display. The intelligent system reminds the user to schedule key maintenance routines and understand if the lift has been overloaded during use. It also has one of the industry’s most principled

lift cycle counters. This, coupled with a standard five-year warranty, contributes to reduced maintenance costs and maximised product longevity. www.joerns.co.uk

Oxford Journey from Joerns Healthcare The Oxford Journey is an ultra-compact, portable folding standing aid with “best-in-class” functionality, according to Joerns Healthcare. Its unique adjustable cow-horn supports a wider range of patient sizes, allowing facilities to have one lift that meets the needs of many. The standing aid is easily folded in less than 30 seconds without tools. It will fit comfortably in the boot of most family cars, allowing onward transportation when travelling out of the confines of the home. Intelligent on-board diagnostic controls with lift cycle counter and service reminder, coupled with a standard

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five-year warranty, help ensure the lift remains in tip-top condition for longer. www.joerns.co.uk


t uk si o. Vi s.c n er Jo

Switch For simple assisted standing and transfers Designed to help a person with reduced mobility, stand from a seated position, enabling their onward transfer to another surface. The Switch also facilitates patient rehabilitation, encouraging the user to participate in the standing process, engaging core muscles, improving strength and function.

Key Features Safe Working Load 180kg / 28st / 397Ibs

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Compact, lightweight and easy to manoeuvre Simple service and maintenance routines Height adjustable knee pads and optional padded covers 5 year warranty as standard

Contact Joerns Healthcare to find out more:

(T) 0344 811 1158

(E) info@joerns.co.uk

DELIVERY l Nationwide delivery & installation l Removal & disposal of old products

Experts in Healthcare Logistics

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CONTACT US TODAY

l 35,000 Square foot warehouse

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l Owned & operated fleet of vehicles

SERVICING l Annual equipment servicing l LOLER testing & inspection l Bed inspections & servicing l Engineer call-outs for repairs

STORAGE l Short term storage solutions

Your Promises. Delivered.


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Savaria Fixed Patient Lifter from Silvalea Savaria patient hoists are available through Silvalea in the UK and European marketplaces. The long-lasting lithium-ion technology ensures a faster lift and 50 percent more cycles per charge than the industry average.

The unique Sure-Clip system provides maximum patient safety by ensuring that loops are attached correctly and prevents slipping from the standard bar when in use. More information on Silvalea’s range, including the Turntable,

Atlas Advance from NRS Healthcare Designed for the comfort, safety and ergonomics of carer and user, the Atlas Advance is a great addition to NRS Healthcare’s moving and handling range. Created to support users move from a seated to a

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standing position with the help of a carer, the Atlas Advance can also be handily used for short distance transfers. www.nrshealthcare.co.uk

Bariatric Hoists and other components available, can be found on the company’s website. www.silvalea.com


Jiraffe vacancies... Jiraffe is part of Jenx Limited, based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire we are a growing, successful business selling Jenx, Rifton and Tarta products throughout the UK and Ireland With over 30 years’ experience of working with children and adults with special needs, Jiraffe are dedicated to offering the latest, most innovative and highest quality specialist products. We work closely with carers, families, therapists and funding bodies, and, by taking the time to understand everyone’s needs, we aim to provide the products and services our customers need. We want to make a real difference to people’s lives – carers as well as children and adults, because here at Jiraffe we firmly believe everyone is entitled to have a happy and fulfilling life. Our company is at an exciting stage of growth and highly driven to achieve our ambitious and focused business plans. From the early days of the current pandemic we have lead the way being proactive and taking great care to work safely, protecting our staff and the children and families who need our products more than ever in these difficult times. We currently have an opportunity for two new Product Advisor roles and a new National Clinical Training Manager role.

Product Advisor covering Republic of Ireland & Product Advisor covering Yorkshire & North East England We are inviting applications from either sales or therapy professionals who believe that they have what it takes to develop a territory and grow sales whilst making a difference to the lives of the children who are at the centre of all we do. As Product Advisor, you will report to the Sales Manager and be responsible for the sales of Jiraffe products and services within your geographical territory. For the republic of Ireland role, the territory covers Kerry, Cork, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Galway Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. The ideal candidate will live in the centre of this area such as Limerick, Tipperary, Galway but not essential. You will occasionally travel to Sheffield to attend events such as Product Training and Sales Meetings which may require overnight stays. Closing Date: 1st August 2021

National Clinical Training Manager As National Clinical Training Manager, you will report to the National Sales Manager and will have a primary focus on raising clinical knowledge and expertise within the UK sales division. You will be an inspiring trainer and coach, highly credible, engaging and highly ethical. The location for the role is flexible and will be home- based, with extensive travel across the UK. The location for the role is flexible and will be home- based, with extensive travel across the UK. The ideal candidate will be a qualified Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist and will be experienced working with paediatrics and equipment provision. They will have an outgoing personality to be able to engage with members of the Jiraffe team, therapists, parents and all other stakeholders. Closing Date: 1st August 2021

How to apply To apply please send your CV and a covering letter explaining why you would be suitable for this role to our HR department at hr@jenx.com For further details about the vacancies please visit our website www.jiraffe.org.uk Full details of the vacancies are listed in our ‘careers’ section.


RECRUITMENT

AREA SALES REPRESENTATIVE NORTHERN TERRITORY

KYMCO UK are looking for experienced candidates to cover the Northern Territory of the UK, for its leading range of Mobility products, Motorcycles, ATV’s, Utility Vehicles & Scooters. It would be advantageous for candidates to also have knowledge of the Motorcycle and/ or the automotive trade, and preferably a track record in ‘business to business’ sales. The successful candidate will be joining one of the most progressively expanding motorcycle and EV manufacturer brands in the UK.  We would also welcome applications from candidates who may want to progress their careers further and have aspirations to take the first steps into the ‘Territory Sales’ arena, with a manufacturer.  In this case, you would have an experience and understanding of working within a dealership environment or a fast paced business-to-business sales environment. Covering the North of England, Scotland and Ireland, you will be responsible for: • Conducting regular dealer visits, reviewing and developing every aspect of their business. • Targeting and prospecting for new

• Driving and increasing the territory’s sales and market share.

initiative and be target driven, for success. Excellent organisational, influencing and negotiation skills are essential, along with good PC and presentation skills.

• Ensuring your area achieves its commercial objectives in full.

• Full car driving licence • Full Motorcycle licence (desirable).

• Effectively managing the relationship between KYMCO UK and its dealer network.

• You should ideally live within the territory in question.

business partners, as appropriate in the territory.

• Providing timely and accurate reports on all aspects of activity and performance. If you feel you’ve got what it takes to be part of the continuing success of KYMCO UK, then we want to hear from you, please apply now! The Ideal Candidate The ideal candidate will possess excellent communication skills (both written and verbal), high levels of professionalism and a good understanding of the Mobility Market and desirable to have an understanding of the motorcycle and/or automotive markets and industries, together with experience at retail management level and/or previous field area sales experience.

• You will also possess the ability to manage your workload effectively remotely. Benefits An excellent basic salary and a monthly performance bonus will be awarded to the successful candidate. Equipment A suitable company vehicle, mobile phone and laptop computer, will be provided. Apply in writing with your CV to krandall@kymcouk.co.uk Mrs Katrina Randall, KYMCO UK Ltd, 30 North Road, Bridgend Industrial Estate, Bridgend, CF31 3TP.

Essential You must be dynamic in your approach to business, be able to work on your own

Midlands Area Sales Executive • Are you a self-starter? • Do you want to work in a fun and supportive environment? • Do you want to work for a company that values you for who you are and what you do? • Do you want ownership of your area? • Do you want to take the key decisions and be accountable for them? If the answer to these is yes, you could be just what we are looking for. Electric Mobility (www.electricmobility.co.uk), is looking for worthy successor as the current Midlands Area Sales Manager is retiring after many highly successful years. Electric Mobility is a long, established private company, with a very strong market position and an enviable reputation for quality, service and reliability. Reporting to the Managing Director, as an Area Sales Manager it will be your job to grow both sales and profitability of the business in the Midlands.

We are hiring!

Working as part of a National Sales Team the Area Sales Manager will have/be: • • • • • • • • •

Successful track record of winning new customers and growing business Empathetic approach with the elderly and disabled Exceptional organisation skills Proven track record of selling technical products through a dealer network Strong territory management with the ability to effectively cover the Midlands A focus on adding value, being a specialist and providing a 1st class service Strong persuasive selling style Ability to successfully demonstrate products both to dealers and end users Capability to retain and explain technical product information

An attractive basic salary, company vehicle and bonus scheme are available:Please contact Jonathan Hearth, Electric Mobility’s Managing Director on 01460 258102 for an informal chat or email your CV and application letter to jonathan.hearth@electricmobility.co.uk Closing Date for applications 12 July 2021. Please – No Agencies!

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Your dream role in the mobility and access industry could just be a click away... Visit thiis.co.uk/jobs to see all the latest jobs


The updated Blazer has a number of user friendly upgrades and is now even narrower than before. It is still available with either a Sling or Captain seat and a variety of accessories.

Blazer Captain

Blazer Sling

Manual Recline No Tilt-in-Space Captain Sitting Nominal Seat Width (inch): 18 / 20

Tilt-in-Space/ Standard Seat Sling Sitting Adjustable Seat Depth Manual Stepless Recline Nominal Seat Width (inch): 17 / 19 / 20


FEEL MOVED

The Strongback and Powerpack: award-winning back support with easier pushing With an ergonomic backrest for improved posture and comfort, the Strongback is an

evolution from traditional wheelchair design and compatible with all TGA Powerpacks. To enquire about the Strongback and Powerpack

Call 01787 888 106

or email trade.sales@tgamobility.co.uk www.tgamobility.co.uk QUOTE: THSA21

Profile for THIIS

THIIS July 2021  

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