UCLH microbiologist's keyboard makes it to NHS 70th BBC series 

16/07/2018 00:00 
Tonight's episode of BBC Four's "The NHS: A People's History" features UCLH microbiologist Peter Wilson who invented a flat silicone computer keyboard in 2006 as part of UCLH's fight against infection.

The three-part documentary series charted the history of the Health Service, using the memories and mementoes of the patients and staff whose lives it has affected, as part of the BBC's programming marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS. This week's final episode, which airs tonight on BBC4 at 9pm, looks at the years 1997 to 2018.

Professor Wilson told the BBC how he had developed a keyboard which is easier to clean than conventional designs. Traditional keyboards are high-risk areas in hospitals because they can harbour bacteria and cannot be cleaned with water or fluids.

Keyboard covers are also to blame for spreading infection because they are rarely cleaned so hospital workers who use them spread potentially lethal bacteria.

The new type of flat silicone computer keyboard has hidden sensors to make sure its surfaces are cleaned properly with alcohol wipes.

The programme is presented by Alex Brooker and unveils a whole host of unique, highly personal artefacts. It also includes a segment on:

  • the discovery of homemade badges dedicated to the first surgeons to carry out gender reassignment surgery after it became available on the NHS,
  • a nurse's uniform cherished since it was used in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, and
  • and teddy bears lovingly made from the clothes of Ellen Linstead, one of the victims of the notorious Mid-Staffordshire abuse scandal in 2006.

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