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The University of Southampton
Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network

The Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network (MDSVN) held its second Sandpit Meeting at Chilworth Manor on 8th October 2015

Published: 14 October 2015
Sandpit 2015

Exploring the clinical problem associated with the application of diverse medical devices from respiratory masks to cervical collars and penile clamps, our second sandpit event attracted over 70 delegates including academics, clinicians and industrialists from all over the UK with a few international attendees.


Dan Bader, Professor of Bioengineering and Tissue Health, Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Southampton and Principal Investigator of the MDVSN opened the event with a review of the motivation driving the Network: to integrate expertise required to introduce cutting edge technologies and scientific understanding in order to reduce the incidence of chronic wounds induced by non-physiological loading situations arising from interventional medical devices. Dan also gave a summary of the Network’s 2014-2015 activities and outlined future opportunities for collaborations within the Network.


This was followed by presentations from Professor Peter Vowden, Clinical Director, NIHR WoundTec HTC and University of Bradford on the issues associated with vascular dysfunction and vulnerable skin and Graham Bowen, Head of Podiatry, Solent NHS Trust on the medical devices used in the diabetic foot from prevention to advance wound care. Graham confirmed the cost of prescriptions to manage diabetes is currently in excess of £2 million per day (£803 million per year) with an alarming 135 amputees per week in England alone resulting from diabetes.


Professors Keith Harding and Michael Clark from the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre gave an overview of the centre’s activities, providing innovations in wound dressings from 1990s to 2012 and confirmed the total cost of managing patients with chronic wounds in Wales amounted to £328 million in 2013-2014.


Dr Ruth Nebauer, Assistant Director Innovation Programmes at the NIHR then presented on the funding opportunities available to delegates, assessed on the basis of the importance of the research question, the quality of the science, and value for money for patients.


The event also incorporated two engagement workshops which proved extremely popular with delegates. The first workshop asked delegates to discuss the barriers and facilitators to improving clinical practice and raising awareness of medical device related injuries, creating new/novel medical devices and applying research into the field of medical devices and vulnerable skin.


In the afternoon session, clinical colleagues presented examples of medical device related injuries including incontinence devices associated with vulnerable skin, the design of respiratory medical devices to enable effective drug delivery and minimise traumatic damage to vulnerable paediatric tissues, skin injuries resulting from respiratory masks in a High Dependency Unit and device-related pressure ulcers in trauma patients.


During the second workshop, delegates were asked to discuss

  • how they can collaborate to find solutions to the clinical problems
  • what scientific/technological improvements can be made for the design/application/monitoring of medical devices,
  • how they can effectively communicate the problems of medical device related injuries and
  • how they can lobby the Governing bodies/funders who can support the proposed activities.

These discussions yielded a number of new collaborations and potential projects, which may be supported by MDSVN.

A distillation of the day’s proceedings was provided by the co-host, Dr Peter Worsley






Notes for editors

The Medical Devices and Vulnerable Skin Network launched in May 2014, represents a partnership led by the University of Southampton (Bader and Worsley) and Kings College London (Grocott), with support from the NIHR Healthcare Technology Co-operatives (HTCs) associated with Devices for Dignity (D4D) and Wound Prevention & Treatment and named academic and industrial collaborators. Its strategic aims are to introduce cutting-edge technologies and scientific understanding in order to reduce the incidence of mechanical-induced damage of vulnerable skin caused by interventional medical devices in various clinical settings.

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