A self-inflating cushion - invented by an employee of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust - that can reduce the risks of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is set to benefit patients throughout the UK.
The cushion, known as the Physiomaster, is the brainchild of Jill Parker, commercial physiotherapy manager at the Apley Cinic, Princess Royal Hospital, Telford, after she had watched a demonstration featuring a device designed to reduce the risk of DVT.
She recalled: "That started my brain working! I thought that, using the same principles, it would be possible to come up with a low maintenance, user-friendly, cost-effective item to produce the same clinical benefits."
Now the Trust, with the aid of MidTECH, the West Midlands NHS innovation hub, has signed a licence deal with Medical Devices Technology International to manufacture and distribute the Physiomaster.
It is placed under the user's feet. This allows the person to move their feet backwards and forwards, thus increasing blood circulation in the lower limbs and reducing the chances of clots forming.
The product's unique feature is a constriction that has the effect of flattening the longitudinal arch in the foot.
This replicates the action of walking and its effects on circulation, and makes it ideal for anyone who is immobile for any length of time such as travellers or office workers.
The Physiomaster's capacity to stimulate circulation means it is also an aid towards the rehabilitation of the leg in cases such as lymphoedema, swollen ankles and or other lower limb circulatory problems.
Alternatively, it can be used to improve balance. This is important in lower limb injuries and a wide range of situations. These include: post surgery; in athletes to speed up reaction times and in the elderly to help reduce falls.
Martin Levermore, MDTi chief executive, said: "Falls in the elderly lead to a lack of confidence and reduced mobility. They are also very costly financially to the nation.
"However, this situation can be improved by using the Physiomaster - in hospital or at home - as a risk assessment tool or to boost balance reactions."
Improving balance or testing, it has traditionally been done by using wobble boards but the Physiomaster boasts several advantages.
Mr Levermore added: "It is smaller, especially when deflated, so is easier to store and carry around.
"The fact that it is self-inflating makes it easy for someone with a respiratory problem to use. That attribute also makes it very hygienic - there's no question of a patient coming into contact with another's saliva.
"And it is a lot cheaper than a wobble board. They cost in the region of £35 to £40 whereas the price of a cushion will be somewhere between £15 and £25."
The product was launched late last year and is in MDTi's 2008 catalogue.
MidTECH's involvement has ensured that both the Trust and Mrs Parker will receive a share of the revenue from all sales.
David Gleaves, chief executive of MidTECH, said: "We are very pleased to have been able to assist the Trust in licensing such an innovative product that can help a wide range of patients in so many different ways."