The new face covering, designed with doctors and made entirely in the UK
Concerned that existing masks weren’t good enough to keep their patients and visitors safe, doctors at Alder Hey collaborated with textile specialists to design their own – and the result is now setting the standard for non-surgical face coverings. Here’s the story behind Brilliant Masks.
By Michael Conway, Founder, Brilliant Masks
Back in March, doctors at Alder Hey Hospital were struggling with a dilemma. They didn’t want to risk their young patients being infected by their visiting families. But they also knew that being stuck in hospital without any visitors at all could have a serious impact on the youngsters’ mental health.
They felt that the only way they could safely allow visitors would be to have everyone wearing proper, well-made, non-surgical masks. But the problem was, they couldn’t find anything that was up to scratch. That set consultant surgeon Roland Partridge on a journey to come up with the best face covering he could.
“I had a look around, but there wasn’t anything that was up to the standard we required. So, I talked to the team and specialist textile manufacturer English Fine Cottons, and we collaborated to design a face covering that would set a new standard, and be better than anything else out there.”
Effective and comfortable, with an anti-viral coating
Working on the frontline, in a hospital known for its innovation, the team were perfectly placed to understand what they needed to include in the design to keep people safer.
They knew their face coverings would need to be effective; that might sound obvious, but so many they’d seen were poorly designed, ill-fitting, and not up to the job. And as medical professionals, they were keen on the idea of treating the surface of the mask with an anti-viral coating.
They also knew they had to make them comfortable enough to be worn for long periods of time, particularly for the children in their care; after all, a mask that isn’t worn is no good to anyone. And they were determined that whatever they made would be sustainable, in line with the principles of the innovation centre, and produced as locally as possible.
Reported as ‘best in class’ compared to other reusable masks
Having worked out what they needed to achieve, the team and their partners rolled up their sleeves and got cracking. They did their research, designed a series of prototypes, and put them through some serious testing, both internally and externally.
There isn’t currently an official standard for face coverings, but the team took part in a testing protocol, carried out on behalf of the Cabinet Office. And they were delighted when it was reported that their face coverings outperformed all other reusable masks tested at that time.
So, realising that what they’d come up with was too good to keep to themselves, the Alder Hey team decided to go into large-scale production, joining forces with us to create the Brilliant Masks brand, and using local suppliers to spin, weave, print, produce and distribute the finished products.
Designed with doctors, rated by experts, loved by users
Now, just a few months later, it’s fair to say that all their hard work has paid off. The reaction of the general public has been nothing short of astonishing; sales are going through the roof, and positive reviews are flooding in. And with up to 20% of each sale going back to Alder Hey’s innovation centre, Brilliant Masks are also helping fund future projects to create new healthcare supplies and solutions.