Versal Slide Sheet

The Moving and Handling Team at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) have developed a simplified and improved slide sheet for the movement and positioning of bed dependent patients in hospitals, care homes and in the community.

Slide sheets allow patients to be slid up a surface or over on to their side, and they are usually used in hospital beds. This reduces the risk of shearing the patients’ skin and also reduces physical strain on nurses when repositioning patients.

The Versal Slide Sheet is a disposable slide sheet with a difference. Uniquely designed, it is one size and placed under the patient in the same position for all patient repositioning tasks.

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The transfer was very smooth and conducted with minimal pain and discomfort. I was very impressed with this system
Patient, CDDFT
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To minimise friction and shearing (skin damage), slide sheets should be placed under all bony prominences of a dependant patient and remain double thickness throughout a repositioning task. For some tasks this may mean using multiple slide sheets or changing the orientation / direction of movement.

Despite training, staff errors with positioning can occur, putting themselves and the patient at risk.

With over 267 slide sheets available on NHS Supply Chain alone, staff do not always choose the appropriate slide sheets or position them correctly, resulting in discomfort for patients and risk to patients and staff.

  • 40% of NHS absence is related to MSK disorders, costing the NHS £400 million every year (NHS Employers, 2009).
  • 3600 health care workers retire early each year as a result of back injury (Unison, 2013).
  • Moving and handling injuries are a common cause of sickness absence in the health and social care setting.

The Versal Slide Sheet is intended to simplify slide sheet use – one slide sheet, one size, one placement under the patient for: lateral transfers (bed to trolley or bed); repositioning up and down the bed; and, turning of dependant patients.

The purpose of this was to:

  • Improve quality of patient care, experience, dignity, safety and comfort during repositioning / transfers.
  • Protect patients’ skin from harm (pressure ulcers).
  • Reduce confusion relating to slide sheet ordering and minimise number of sheets required (therefore reducing costs).
  • Minimise user error and improve compliance.
    Protect the musculoskeletal health and well-being of staff, reducing sickness absence.
  • Reduce injury costs to the NHS.

The Moving and Handling Team worked with CDDFT Business Development Team and NHS Innovations North to assess the idea, utilising peer assessments and surveys to develop the product further.

A patent was applied for and was assigned from CDDFT to Yorkshire-based GBUK Healthcare Ltd.

The product is now available to purchase online for NHS and for the home and community carer, referred to as the ‘Banana Versal slide sheet’ (

Following trials on two hospital wards, the product has been endorsed by the Director of Nursing and the senior leadership group and was fully implemented in CDDFT February 2016.

A national launch took place at the National Back Exchange Conference, September 2016.

  • Highly Commended, RCNi Awards, 2016
  • Winner (3rd place) ,Bright Ideas in Health Awards 2016
  • Highly Commended, HSJ Awards, 2016
  • Multiple slide sheets are not required, therefore the Versal Slide Sheet is more cost effective and contributes to safer moving and handling.
  • Respondents rated the Versal Slide Sheet as good or excellent for all procedures = 94% (GBUK Ltd, 2016)
  • Prior to using Versal Slide Sheets, 78.2% of staff gave an incorrect description of the position and use of slide sheets (Fray et al, 2016). This has now decreased to 0% since the introduction of Versal Slide Sheets in February 2016 (CDDFT, 2016).
  • Ergonomics research showed a reduction in pulling forces when using the Versal Slide Sheet compared to traditional slide sheets (Fray et al, 2016).
  • The CDDFT Back Care Team is supporting the UK Versal Slide Sheet supplier to introduce to other NHS Trusts for standardisation.
  • The Back Care team continue to put the product forward for Awards for national recognition.
An excellent product making all movement simple and stress free
Consultant Vascular Surgeon