VETERAN entrepreneur Gio Benedetti has returned to the business fray by developing a medical device he has calculated will save the NHS millions of pounds.

Mr Benedetti, who wound up his last business venture in 2013, has designed a product to ease the often-traumatic process of achieving venous access when veins are difficult to access. This is frequently the case for patients undergoing chemotherapy, those who arrive at accident and emergency units following traumatic incidents, and older people who require saline injections to treat dehydration.

At present, the standard method used by health professionals to expand veins is by placing a patient’s arm in a bucket of warm water. While effective, the process is said to be time-consuming and cumbersome.

Mr Benedetti’s device, the Airglove, is an attempt to counteract those challenges. It gently heats the patient’s arm up by forcing warm air through a double walled polythene glove. The device is said to be able to expand veins in as little as two minutes, boosting venous access more quickly than under the traditional method process which can take around ten to 15 minutes.

Mr Benedetti, who will launch the device under the a new medical product company, said it has the capability of saving the NHS at least £6 million initially.

That calculation is based on the savings of around £50,000 which the company believes can be saved by the estimated 200 oncology units around the UK.

Those efficiencies would stem from cutting down on the waste of consumable goods such as cannulation packs, which are frequently thrown out when veins are not successfully accessed. Sometimes upwards of three packs are used in ultimately fruitless attempts at venous success. Each of the packs cost around £1.79.

However, the calculations do not include savings in staff time, including the time spent fetching and carrying water and the costs incurred if increasingly senior medical staff require to become involved when there is difficulty accessing veins. Mr Benedetti said the savings to the NHS could rise to as much as £14m.

The entrepreneur came up with the idea while attending the Medica Exhibition in Dusseldorf and got talking to the chief executive of innovations for the NHS in South East. He has a personal interest in the products development, having found himself in hospital and said the staff “couldn’t find a vein” for the treatment he needed.

“My arm went up like a balloon,” said Mr Benedetti, the father of famous violinist Nicola. Noting that such incidents can be traumatic for cancer patients because chemotherapy damages veins, he added: “Everyone has the same problem. [I know] from personal experience, it becomes quite a drama.”

The Airglove has been trialled by several hospitals, including Maidstone Hospital, Royal Stoke and UCLH (University College London Hospitals) in London. Hospitals in Dudley and East Kent have expressed an interest in purchasing batches of the device, and there has been contact with the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow. Mr Benedetti will travel to Rome to meet a potential distributor for the Italian market in the coming days. The product, which is manufactured in China, has been priced £795 for NHS clients. Steps have been taken to protect the intellectual property of the design.

The development of Airglove marks a major return to the business scene for the entrepreneur, who at one time had a business empire six companies and 800 people.

The Italian-born Scot launched his business career when he started a dry-cleaning business at the age of 18, eight years after arriving in Irvine to make a life in Scotland with his uncle.

Having started out as a door to door operation, it grew until Mr Benedetti had built of the biggest dry-cleaning plants in Europe at Kilwinning, which was then sold to Initial for around £30m.

He went on to buy a papermaker in Birmingham, later sold for £9.5m, and a cling-film maker in Shropshire. That was sold for £21m in a management buyout led by the entrepreneur himself.

Mr Benedetti’s most recent business was the Wishaw-based first-aid kit manufacturer Wallace Cameron, which was wound up in 2013 with substantial debts.

Mr Benedetti admitted at the time: “Wallace Cameron has not been my best scenario.”