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Transparent face masks will be an absolute game-changer for deaf children, young people and adults

UK-made transparent face mask approved for use in the NHS

DHSC approved Globus Group’s (@GlobusGroup_PPE) pioneering new UK-made transparent face mask

The new clear MX C, which has been created to offer high-quality protection and help patients with communication needs, has been approved by the Department of Health and Social Care for use in hospitals, clinics and social care settings across the UK.

The certified UKCA/CE marked MX C is the latest in a series of technology-driven products designed and manufactured in the UK by Alpha Solway, part of Globus Group. The masks will enable clearer communication for frontline workers dealing with all patients, but especially those who rely on lip reading and facial expressions, including those suffering from hearing-impairments, learning disabilities, autism or dementia. Being able to communicate properly with patients, especially those with communication challenges, is crucial for patient safety and wellbeing.

Effective communication, particularly in a healthcare setting, often relies on positive non-verbal elements, such as expression and emotion. Miscommunication is a key cause of medical errors and can be prevented by spotting these critical facial cues. Globus Group have responded to this need by producing the new HAIKA MX C transparent face mask.

The masks have been designed with the addition of a clear anti-fog front panel, positioned to prevent reflection and make lip reading easier. This helps to improve communication across the board, allowing the wearer to share a friendly smile, making conversation more natural and accessible, and helping patients understand information from healthcare professionals more easily.

This ground-breaking clear mask has been designed in line with Alpha Solway’s leading respiratory offering, providing enhanced comfort and breathability, as many frontline healthcare workers wear their masks for hours at a time.

As a result of the Globus’s Groups multi-million pound investment in new factories in Dumfries and Warrington over the last two years, creating hundreds of new jobs, Alpha Solway are already able to manufacture over 1 million MX C masks a week and will be in position to make 2 million masks a week by the end of January.

Haraldur Agustsson, Chief Executive of Globus Group, said:

“During the pandemic, the difficulties faced by people with communication needs have been compounded by the requirement for healthcare professionals to wear masks, as they often rely on visual cues. I am proud that Globus Group’s clear mask has been given approval by the Department for Health and Social Care for use across the NHS and care sector. This shows our ongoing commitment not just to improving people’s safety, but to also improving their lives.”

“For three decades the Globus Group story has been one of continuous innovation. At the beginning of the pandemic, this enabled us to accelerate our plans to build two new factories in Britain, creating a fantastic manufacturing platform that means the UK now has a resilient supply of PPE.

“We are driven to provide solutions for our customers, harnessing our research and development capabilities to create better products, using more sustainable materials to offer high levels of protection.”

Managing Director of Alpha Solway, part of Globus Group, Steven Binnie said:

“The breakthrough of our transparent respiratory range will be invaluable for patients across England and Scotland who live with hearing loss and struggle to communicate with those wearing face coverings as the Covid pandemic continues.

“Positive non-verbal communication has been shown to decrease patient anxiety, giving them confidence that a physician is sensitive and understanding. As a result, the patient is more trusting and communicative.

“Our healthcare team have been working closely with the NHS throughout the pandemic and this new product range will help them in their interactions with patients and each other. It has been designed to offer maximum comfort and breathability, ensuring confidence for the wearer while creating a positive impact and culture for all.”

The announcement has been welcomed by organisations and charities representing people with communications needs.

Mike Hobday of the National Deaf Children’s Society said:

“Transparent face masks will be an absolute game-changer for deaf children, young people and adults alike because almost all of them rely on lip reading and facial expressions.

“They will now be able to understand the health and social care professionals they meet much more easily, receiving crucial information in a way that works for them. Deaf people have been hit hard by the pandemic and it would provide a welcome boost whenever they met someone who was wearing one.”

Mary Morgan, chief executive for NHS National Service Scotland commented:

“This is a key step in improving communications with patients and staff as we continue through the pandemic.”

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