Royal opening of world class burns research centre

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HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO officially opened The Healing Foundation Centre for Burns Research based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham today, Tuesday 21 October.

Her Royal Highness, who is actively involved with the Healing Foundation as Patron, met staff and patients including ex-soldier and Pride of Britain Award winner Karl Hinett at the Centre.

Karl, who lives in Dudley and is pictured in the blue shirt below, survived 37% burns when the tank he was in whilst serving in Iraq was petrol bombed. He underwent five years of operations at the hospital.

The Centre Director, Mr Naiem Moiemen (pictured below), a consultant in burns and plastics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Countess of Wessex here and proud to show her some of the remarkable research happening here in Birmingham.

HRH the Countess of Wessex meets staff and patients at the official opening of Healing Foundation Centre for Burns ResearchAs well as improving our understanding of how the body responds to burn injury in adults and children, the £6 million Research Centre also carries out translational clinical research to develop new treatments.

“Approximately 11,000 people are admitted to UK hospitals each year with serious burns and around half of these are children under 16.

“Attention to the need for improved care for burn injuries has been heightened by the injuries of returning service personnel from Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflicts.

“Treatment priorities are to save lives, to heal wounds and to reduce the unsightly scarring that all too often leads to functional impairment and significant psychological damage.”

On the tour of the laboratories, Her Royal Highness was given a demonstration from the SIFTI (Scientific Investigation of the Biological Pathways Following Thermal Injury in Adults and Children) study by Dr Peter Sampson, Professor Janet Lord, Mr Chris Wearn and Dr Paul Harrison.

This is the first multi-centre prospective observational cohort study investigating the various responses to severe burns to be conducted in the UK.

After meeting patients from QEHB and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, military staff and donors, The Countess of Wessex unveiled a plaque for the new Centre.

The Centre is a partnership between University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs QEHB, University of Birmingham, Ministry of Defence, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, University College London and the Royal Free Hospital in London.

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