Surgical MedTech Co-operative “PPE Challenge”

The Surgical MIC has just launched its PPE Challenge to protect front line workers from COVID-19 and keep health services functioning.

Surgery and other interventional procedures generate aerosols that put health care workers at particular risk from COVID-19 infection. Viral particles liberated from infected patients are circulated by positive pressure ventilation systems producing a “viral storm”, with particles remaining viable on surfaces for several days. Operations involving laparoscopic surgery, endoscopy, power tools etc. put healthcare workers at particular risk.

Lessons from China and other European countries have taught us that current standards of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) do not provide adequate protection from the aerosol transmission. Full body Hazmat suits are the only real protection but these are not routinely available.

There is an urgent need to understand the challenges faced by healthcare workers in protecting themselves against aerosol contamination. Only by adequately protecting front line staff will the health service continue to function.

The Surgical MIC is asking our community to respond to the Surgical MedTech Co-operative “PPE Challenge” to help understand what the real day-to-day challenges are for front line healthcare workers in maintaining PPE, and also to generate simple, effective solutions that might be rapidly scaled up.

Examples might include impractical “doffing and donning techniques”, communication difficulties when wearing PPE, modified snorkel face masks etc.

They have a team of clinicians and academics on standby to receive your challenges and solutions. Once they receive your entries, this team will prioritise those challenges and solutions in an effort to get them to the frontline during this pandemic. 

  • If you want to be involved in evaluating challenges and solutions, then please contact the Surgical MIC by emailing
  • If you are a company and you have technology that could be adapted quickly for the healthcare setting, then they would also like to hear from you.
  • Challenges or solutions can be submitted using this form.

They will be updating their website with the challenges they receive. If you work within the NHS and would like to lead on any of the ideas presented, then please contact them by emailing