Pioneering treatments that could change the face of woundcare may soon be discovered thanks to a newly-launched national centre for excellence in wound care research.
Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the NIHR WoundTec Healthcare Technology Co-operative (HTC) is one of eight new HTCs being launched across the country.
Around 100 delegates attended the launch event at the Metropole Hotel, Leeds, which was also used as an opportunity for business managers, technology developers, clinicians, academics and other stakeholders to voice the challenges they see in wound management.
The event, which was supported by and held in partnership with the HealthTech and Medicines, Electronics, Sensors and Photonics, Materials and ICT Knowledge Transfer Networks, was set against the backdrop of woundcare treatments currently costing the NHS in England an estimated £3.1 billion per year.
A focus was placed on discovering current challenges in woundcare and coming up with potential solutions to them. Discussions centred on the importance of end user perspective and delegates also took part in a device evaluation and new product design workshops.
The meeting started with an introduction to the concept of HTCs by Professor Peter Vowden, the Clinical Director of the NIHR WoundTec HTC and a world-renowned wound care expert.
This was followed by presentations from collaborating partners in the HTC, including; Delia Muir - University of Leeds, Dr Patricia Grocott and Prof. Glen Robert – King’s College London, Dr Stephen Britland - University of Bradford, Prof. Dan Bader - University of Southampton, Prof. Carol Dealey - University of Birmingham, Lt. Col. Steven Jeffery - Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Prof. Jane Nixon and Prof. Andrea Nelson - University of Leeds.
There are eight HTCs established across the country, with the aim of fostering innovation in areas of unmet need across the next four years.
Professor Vowden, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The NIHR WoundTec HTC will look at medical device innovations that are patient led and focused – and the NHS will be a partner for delivery and adoption of new device technology.
“The HTC is very much a national institution with specialisms in product development, clinical trials, cell biology and research and patient focused trials – all of which provide a range of expertise that will support innovation.”
Carole Bennett, a speaker at the event and member of the Pressure Ulcer Research Service User Network, who has Multiple Sclerosis, told the delegation how she had cared for her mother who had also suffered with the condition, and how pressure ulcers had been a major issue for her.
She said: “I am a member of the MS Society’s Research Network and also the Pressure Ulcer Research Service User Network – and we have discovered that solutions must be patient focused. What I hear patients and carers say is that what we want is not always what researchers think we want.
“For me, that this HTC is patient-focused is really important in helping them (patients) get their lives back.”