Taxi driver’s FlushAway invention could help save thousands of lives

Brian McCormack has invented the FlushAway. Picture: Johnston Press
Brian McCormack has invented the FlushAway. Picture: Johnston Press

A Kirkcaldy taxi driver could change medical science with his new invention, which aims to aid in screening for illnesses like cancer.

Early detection could be potentially life-saving when it comes to bowel cancer.

Brian McCormack's invention can be flushed after use. Picture: JP

Brian McCormack's invention can be flushed after use. Picture: JP

That’s something that Brian McCormack had in mind, when he came up with a disposable device which presents a quick, clean, and dignified way to take samples for testing. It dissolves and can then be flushed away.

He recently won Best New Start-up at the Kingdom FM Local Heroes Awards.

The former miner is also hoping the FlushAway device can be rolled out in hospital wards across the world to help prevent infection, and also raise the return rates for home sample kits.

Brian says that of 800,000 testing packs which are currently sent out every year, only around half are returned.

“If you could raise it by 20 per cent then I would hope you could save about 2000 lives,” he said.

“My father nearly died of bowel cancer so I know the implications. I saw there was a huge campaign over the last couple of years to raise awareness, and I could see that there had to be a better way.”

Current NHS guidelines suggest options for getting the sample from the toilet, include catching it in a food container, or using your hand.

The FlushAway removes the need for this, and Brian would like to see the device trialed in Fife. He has already struck a deal in Sweden to supply the FlushAway.

The technology had previously been used during World War 2, when submarines would use similar paper for top secret information, so that if the sub was sunk then the water would destroy the documents before they could be recovered by enemy forces.

But during Brian’s research, he joked that he may have stumbled onto another invention.

“When we were preparing a demonstration, we tried to simulate the stool, so we mixed porridge with coffee. It smelled so good, we laughed ‘this could be a patent on its own for a new type of breakfast’.”

Whether that invention ever makes it to the shelves, Brian jokes: “The proof will be in the pudding!”

For more information, go to www.mccormackinnovation.co.uk.