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Neocot History

The Neocot or ‘Mansell Infant Retrieval System’, is a world leading solution for the intensive care transport of premature or critically ill infants from a trauma point to a major hospital, using patient transport modalities such as road ambulances, fixed or rotary wing aircraft.


Neocot system with Phototherapy

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MIRF being transported in an Australian Army Blackhawk


First used in 2002, Neocot is now used to transport approximately 4000 critically ill and premature infants every year, across all Australian states and territories. The Neocot is also used internationally in Norway and Sweden.


Professor John Grant-Thomson (John 1938 – 2021) the inventor of the Neocot joined the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (DDIAE) in 1970 earning a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical), a Master of Science (Biomedical Engineering) was later earned at Glasgow and a Doctor of Philosophy (Electrical Engineering) was from the University of Queensland. He was appointed chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern Queensland in 1996.


Back in 1993, a team led by John, from the University of Southern Queensland, researched, designed, and built a world leading ‘MIRF’ (Mobile Intensive Care Rescue Facility) for use by the Australian military. It was used initially during the Rwandan War in 1994. The MIRF was then sought by international mining operators, to be instrumental in saving lives in remote mining locations.

Then widely acclaimed for their development of Intensive-care medical devices, the team developed a similar intensive care retrieval system for infants and paediatric patients.


The Neocot system came into realisation through contact with Dr David Cartwright from the Royal Brisbane Hospital and Dr David Tudehope from the Mater Hospital. From there John proceeded to pioneer the development of a standardised and easily transported system that could be used in road and air emergency transport modalities.


John then engaged some of his leading engineering students to work with him to develop such a solution and so the development began to its eventual fruition in 2000.


John always reflected on how often people would comment about not actually knowing that such a world changing piece of medical equipment, was manufactured in Toowoomba, Queensland.


Today the Neocot is transported in aircraft from organisations such as Queensland Rescue, LifeFlight, CareFlight and the Royal Flying Doctor Service and a recent Australian Story of John, included a reunion of one of the very first Neocot infants, 17 years later.

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Neocot loading into Queensland Rescue 500 Helicopter on top of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

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Neocot about to be loaded at Brisbane airport into a CareFlight Challenger jet

"Just how many lives have been impacted, and to what degree Johns’ life has impacted our world,

will only be revealed by time itself".

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