Royal recognition for medical innovation

Harry Espiner and Jim Howard with the medical device their company produces.

Harry Espiner and Jim Howard with the medical device their company produces. - Credit: Archant

A SMALL Clevedon company which supplies medical devices to clients across the globe has been given royal recognition for its achievements.

Espiner Medical will receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise to reward its directors and 18 staff for all they have accomplished in the world of international trade.

The company was set up in 1990 when pioneering laparoscopic surgeon Harry Espiner, now aged 80, encountered a problem of how to retrieve tissue safely in the new procedure for gallbladder removal.

Deciding the simplest solution was to create a bag to remove the organ, he set about designing one and identified Jim Howard at Cameron Balloons as his partner.

They worked together to create what has now become a hugely successful product which is supplied to countries all over the world including America, Australia and Canada as well as in Europe.

Espiner Medical, which is based in Kenn Road, now produces four different products and is currently targeting markets in Brazil, China Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Poland.

It has also recently doubled its manufacturing floor space in anticipation of an increase in orders in the next two years.

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Jim, aged 75 from Portishead, said: “When we had a letter come through to say we would receive the award and I was shocked.

“The recognition is important as it is great for our staff.

“It does them the world of good to know that their work has been recognised.

“We can also go to our dealers now and say we have received the award, which gives them confidence in us.

“One of the reasons we got the award was because in the past six years our sales have increased by 1,517 per cent.

“Harry and I both love what we do and I like to think of us as geriatric teenagers as we still have such enthusiasm for it.

“Don Cameron and I started it off thinking we were just helping a surgeon out.

“We had no idea that it would turn out like this – it has been great fun.”