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How can we make things better for health in Bristol?

Press release issued: 23 March 2011

An exhibition next week will showcase the outstanding health innovation achievements in the city that have had a positive impact on people’s lives and offer a glimpse into the future at what new developments might bring.

A unique exhibition, the first of its kind to be held in Bristol, will showcase the outstanding health innovation achievements in the city that have had a positive impact on people’s lives and offer a glimpse into the future at what new developments might bring.

The Bristol Health Innovation Showcase is the first exhibition from BRIG-H (Bristol Research and Innovation Group for Health), a partnership of  universities and NHS Trusts committed to improving the health of people in Bristol and beyond through research, innovation and closer collaboration.

The Showcase will take place at UWE’s Exhibition and Conference Centre on Wednesday 30 March from 5.30 to 8.30 pm. 

The event will provide an opportunity for professionals and members of the public to see first hand 30 exciting innovations on display which have been developed by members of the partnership.  Clinicians, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs behind the latest developments and innovations will be on hand to answer questions and explain their inventions, new procedures and advances in health services.

The BRIG-H partners are: the University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, North Bristol NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust, in association with Bristol City Council, NHS North Somerset, and NHS South Gloucestershire.

Scientists, clinicians, and health executives from these organisations have worked together to create new innovations and processes that have benefited health in Bristol.

Deborah Evans, Chief Executive NHS Bristol and Chair, Bristol Health Leadership Executive, said: “We know that Bristol is regarded as a beacon of innovation.  Innovation in health is changing the lives of patients and the city: inventions, research, new companies, treatments, devices and tools are transforming the care and quality of the lives of patients. This event is an ideal opportunity to be inspired by examples of Bristol innovations that have changed people’s lives and talk to the people who have made it happen.”

Professor Richard Luxton, Director Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology, UWE, said: “This event demonstrates how the partners working together can make huge gains.  We want to encourage other researchers and clinicians to get involved in innovation and applications for their research.  There are many projects which would not have happened without the expertise and innovation of both universities, and the support of the NHS Trusts.  We hope this event will show just how much we have achieved together, and the enormous potential there is in the city for further innovation and health improvement in the city in the future.”

The innovations on display range from medical innovations, through to novel improvements to service delivery and community health initiatives. Innovations on display include:

The TOBY trial: - A new treatment pioneered by Professor Marianne Thoresen (University of Bristol) with partners North Bristol Trust and funded by the Medical Research Council, Olympic Medical and SPARKS aims to prevent brain damage caused by lack of oxygen (Asphyxia) at birth by giving cooling treatment within the first six hours of life.  The novel treatment lowers the affected babies’ body temperature to 33.5°C and induces hypothermia for 72 hours before gradually rewarming the baby in intensive care.  After clinical trials the treatment was introduced in Bristol’s two neonatal intensive care units in 2006 and 60 per cent of babies now survive without significant injury compared to 30 per cent previously in Bristol.  In May 2010 the treatment was recommended by NICE for asphyxiated babies.  Professor Thoresen is now working with Professor John Dingley (Swansea University) and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust to improve the prognosis for these babies even further by adding inhaled Xenon gas to the cooling regime.

Adults with Asperger Syndrome: plugging the service gap - The Bristol Autism Spectrum Service (BASS) was established to fill the service vacuum for adults with Asperger Syndrome who are unable to access support from mainstream services.   It has received national recognition as an example of best practice and contributed to the government’s strategy for adults with autism. The service model is being replicated in other UK regions.  BASS facilitates assessment and diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome for adults, provides a programme of post-diagnostic support and provides training for mainstream providers. By plugging the service gap for adults with Asperger Syndrome the new service helps to improve mental wellbeing and life outcomes for individuals. Training has been delivered to 500 health and social care professionals, employment agencies and JobCentre Plus staff.  The project leaders from Bristol Autism Spectrum Service, AWP are: Dr Ian Ensum, Matt Trerise, Annie Alexander, Amy Baddeley, Dr Rona Aldridge, Dr Peter Carpenter, Simon Allen and Gemma Allen.

OdoReader - Diagnosing bacterial infections at the bedside - OdoReader  is a prototype device which accurately and rapidly identifies disease causing bacteria in diarrhoea such as the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which is highly infectious and causes a severe form of diarrhoea.  OdoReader captures and analyses the chemicals in the smell of the diarrhoea and is able to give an accurate diagnosis within 20 minutes.  This new prototype device is robust and reliable and can help prevent the spread of infection. There are plans to develop similar devices for other infections and this device is ideal for use in the developing world.  The project leaders are Professor Chris Probert, (University of Bristol) and Professor Norman Ratcliffe (UWE) collaborating with North Bristol NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust.  OdoReader is being developed with the support of the Wellcome Trust and will be ready for launch in 2013. 

The BRIG-H consortium will also be hosting a Health Innovation Challenge during the afternoon before the exhibition, bringing together scientists, researchers, clinicians, patient representatives and others from Bristol, to generate new ideas and facilitate  collaborations and initiatives to improve health in the city.


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