Endoscopes are miniature, elongated microscopes that physicians use to perform minimally invasive procedures on patients - in their hollow organs or internal canals. Endoscopes may be rigid or flexible. Both are delicate, precision instruments. Most flexible endoscopes contain systems to deliver light, suction, air and water. Infection in patients can occur due to inadequate cleaning. Endoscopy is centralised in specialising hospitals which can resource the activity with the purchase and maintenance of sufficient number of endoscopes. This means that patients frequently have to travel long distances to reach these hospitals. There is an urgent need to change the way in which endoscopy is performed to combat these problems. In this project, a team of SMEs will develop single use disposable endoscope equipment (which will eliminate the possibility of infection of the patient from this equipment) and will form a supply chain. The technology developed in this programme will be applicable to other equipment developments by the SMEs. An additional aim is for the disposable endoscope equipment to be constructed from materials which can be recycled after use.
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