D4D awards funding to develop ideas

THREE innovative projects in the field of continence management have been awarded a total of £35,000 to help accelerate the development of their devices.

Devices for Dignity (D4D), the organisation which delivers technology solutions to support people with long-term conditions preserving their dignity and independence, identified continence management as the theme of this year’s Proof of Concept Competition.

The three challenge themes set were:

Tackling continence for people with dementia
Helping children and/or young adults with continence problems
Self-help tools for prevention or management of urinary incontinence

Professor Paul Abrams of Bristol Urological Institute (BUI) announced the winners and presented the awards at BUI’s 19th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) at the Watershed Conference Centre. This year’s BUI ASM was held in honour of Prof Abram’s life-long contribution to urinary continence management.

The first prize went to Andrew Gammie from North Bristol NHS Trust for a Fluid Management System. This is an ‘app’ that will inform and empower patients to manage lower urinary tract symptoms that are troublesome but do not require medical intervention.

Joint second award was presented to Pippa Bowkett from Great Bear Healthcare Ltd for Baby Bear Leg Bag. Her idea is to develop a child-friendly paediatric leg bag for very young children who need catheterisation.

Prof Chris Chapple (right), Prof Paul Abrams (middle) and
North Bristol NHS Trust prize winner Andrew Gammie (left)

Joint second award was won by Eleanor van den Heuvel from Brunel University for Don’t Wee. This project takes the notion of biofeedback for pelvic floor exercise to a new dimension.

Great Bear’s Pippa Bowkett (middle left) and
Lindsey Carruthers (left) with Prof Paul Abrams
(middle-right) and Prof Chris Chapple (right)

North Bristol NHS Trust’s Andrew Gammie said: “This is great news – I have been thinking about this idea for several years and it can finally be brought to the testing stage. If successful, we will be able to save many patients unnecessary visits to diagnostic clinics and assist their management of fluids.”

Pippa Bowkett from Great Bear said: “We are delighted to have won the D4D PoC competition. As a UK manufacturer of urology products this award will help not only the end user, young children, but also ensures the design, development and manufacturing stays in Cardiff.”

Brunel University’s Eleanor van den Heuvel said: “The Don’t Wee is going to be an exciting project to be involved in. It has huge potential benefits for improving women’s continence status.”

The winners will now be given the opportunity to work with D4D’s national experts’ network, resources and specialist clinicians, bridging the gap between initial concepts, securing grant funding and attracting early stage investment.

Professor Chris Chapple, D4D’s Urinary Continence Management Theme Lead, said: “This has been a wonderful opportunity for D4D to help drive and support innovations in this area of clinical need. The excellent applications which we received emphasised the innovative ideas that are awaiting development and which D4D is keen to identify and nurture for the benefit of patients.”