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Stoke Mandeville – home of the Paralympics and Possum

22 August 2012

Professor Sir Ludwig Guttmann founded ‘The National Spinal Injuries Centre’ (NSIC) at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury, in 1944 to treat servicemen who had sustained spinal cord injuries in World War II. 

Professor Guttmann began using sport as a rehabilitation method for military personnel and on the 29th July 1948 organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games for 16 paralysed men and women to coincide with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London.

Possum was founded in 1961 by an engineer called Reginald Maling. Volunteering at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, he encountered a young man who had been injured in a water-skiing accident. Totally paralysed from the neck down, and with very little voice, he could only signal to nurses by blowing on a whistle hung near his mouth.

Maling designed a device which could be operated by sucking or blowing on a mouthpiece, enabling the patient to activate mechanisms for turning on the light or TV; later versions could even operate an electric typewriter. He called his invention Patient Operated Selector Mechanism, or POSM. Based on this, the word Possum – Latin for 'I can' - was chosen as the name for the Company.

Reg Maling received great encouragement from Sir Ludwig Guttman, the then Director of the National Spinal injuries Unit, who suggested that he approach the Polio Research Fund. The POSM research project was founded with aid from the Polio Research Fund.  For the first few years the project was based in the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and after the cessation of the grant from the Polio Research Fund, an independent organisation was founded which moved them to nearby premises leased  by the Bifucated and Tubular Rivet Company Ltd.

Still situated in Aylesbury, Possum's mission is to harness modern technology to empower people with disabilities and increase their independence. This vision is achieved by two means: through a business, Possum Limited, and a charity, the Possum Trust.  

Please view our ‘Electronic Assistive Technology’ page for further information on our life-changing solutions for disabled people.

Scotland Excel ‘Telecare Framework Agreement’ includes Possum as supplier

23 February 2012

Possum Limited has been successfully selected as a supplier by Scotland Excel (Scotland’s procurement body for local authorities) on their framework agreement for the Supply and delivery of Telecare equipment and associated services’.

The overall objective of the framework is to provide local authorities with a contract for purchasing products and services which enable people with disabilities or mental health problems, the elderly and the generally vulnerable, to live as independently as possible in their own homes. 

The framework contract for the provision of Telecare (effective from Jan 2012 to December 2013), has been awarded to Possum against stringent criteria including; financial capability, technical specifications, quality and service.  Possum will be providing a range of Telecare equipment including base units (care phones) and associated peripherals (sensors and alarms) which will support the objectives of the framework by enabling supported independent living.

Possum’s Telecare Manager Ben Carter commented “We are delighted to have been selected as a key supplier for this framework and to have developed this new relationship with Scotland Excel.  We look forward to supporting the initiative which aligns with the Possum ethos of increasing independence through assistive technology”

Please follow the link to view the range of innovative Possum Telecare Products.