World leading wound research centre established in Wales

A new multi-million pound centre which will carry out world-leading research into wounds to improve patient care has been officially opened.

The Welsh Wound Innovation Centre, based at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, has been established with more than £2.5m from the Welsh Government and NHS Wales to lead the latest cutting-edge research into wounds and wound healing.

The centre is a partnership between the Welsh Government, Welsh NHS and leading Welsh universities and it will work with the private sector. It will carry out clinical and scientific research to develop pioneering new wound treatments and products.

Millions of people around the world, especially older people, suffer from acute, traumatic and chronic wounds. Chronic wounds are frequently long term, painful and debilitating, causing extreme loss of quality of life for sufferers. For many people living with non-healing wounds, amputation of an affected limb can be the only option.

Chronic wounds are not as high profile as other health issues but they cost an estimated £42bn globally every year and represent 5% of the UK’s entire health budget. The issue is expected to grow as the world’s population grows older, placing further pressure on health services.

In his capacity as Health Minister, Mark said:

“I am delighted to be opening this exciting new research centre, which will be a Welsh centre of excellence in wound prevention and treatment. Its focus will be on developing better treatments for patients which will improve their quality of life. It will also attract investment and help create jobs in the medical technology sector.

“Our population is getting older and the time and cost associated with treating and managing wounds is set to increase. Only by looking at new ways of treating wounds can we manage this trend and improve people’s quality of life. This centre builds on a foundation of expertise in Wales, which has an international reputation for wound healing.

“Helping our healthcare system to work more effectively with universities and industry will contribute to economic growth, as well as improving our health services and the care people receive in Wales.”

The centre’s new director, Professor Keith Harding, head of Cardiff University School of Medicine’s Wound Healing Research Unit said:

“Treating wounds, whether chronic, acute or traumatic is a startlingly expensive problem for our health services – not to mention the emotional costs it inflicts on patients and their families. Having up until now received little attention from policy makers or research funders it has become a silent epidemic.

“Our new centre will employ new methods to improve how wounds are prevented and treated, to enhance the quality of life of patients through better diagnosis and treatment. This will result in fewer hospital admissions and shorter hospital stays, reducing overall health costs for the NHS in Wales.”

Professor Harding added:

“We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with a wound management company in Australia, which we hope will encourage collaborative research opportunities and student exchange. The centre is a real opportunity for Wales to become recognised as a world-leading nation in wound healing. It will employ 31 people at the outset and over the next five years we aim to attract at least 11 inward investments creating a further 45 jobs.”