Paediatric Technologies Special Edition from @devices4dignity

Delivering innovative technology solutions to support people with long-term conditions, preserving their dignity and independence

Newsletter December 2015

Paediatric Technologies Special Edition

Technology Innovation Transforming Child Health (TITCH) workshop 

December saw Sheffield host the first of a series of child health unmet needs workshops, in which we introduced attendees to our TITCH Network, current projects, and an overview of designing products with patients involved throughout. The 40 attendees were made up of clinicians, academics and representatives from the Academic Health Science Networks, Clinical Research Network, and a range of NHS and Higher Education Institutions from across the country.

The attendees gave great insights into the needs of children within their specialist fields across both secondary and primary care. The event enabled attendees to identify a range of issues from detailed specific needs within clinical delivery to much broader needs like more effective sharing of information to improve patient care.

We are now planning a follow up workshop to take place in Manchester around March 2016 in which we will expand our understanding of the issues identified in the first workshop, and start to consider how solutions to these can be developed. More information will be made available through our website in due course. If you would like to attend please contact in the meantime.

At the end of the workshop series we’re planning an event where we will discuss the identified unmet need priorities directly with children with long-term conditions and their carers. We also work directly with young patients and their carers through other routes.

Inspiring young people to pursue careers in medtech…and to develop solutions along the way

The TITCH Network, part of our Paediatric Technologies Theme, has begun a pilot project to bring together budding young designers with children with long-term conditions. ‘A’ level design and engineering students at Dinnington Comprehensive and King Edward VII School (Sheffield) have begun working with children and their families to identify a specific ‘real world’ need, and develop a response.

In partnership with Sheffield Hallam University the project includes a series of workshop events with full access to the workshop space at SHU to enable the students to begin prototyping, testing and developing their designs. A collection of Chief Executives of regional MedTech companies have volunteered their time throughout the year to mentor the students.

At the end of the school year the students will be given the opportunity to ‘pitch’ their projects to the patients and their families, clinicians, SHU designers and schools liaison staff, D4D staff and the MedTech business mentors.

For more information contact

Communication aid – £683k funding awarded

January 2016 will see the start of a three year project that will help speech and language researchers examine how vital symbol-based communication aids may be better prescribed to improve the quality of life for children with limited natural speech.

Lead researcher Dr Janice Murray (Manchester Metropolitan University) said, “The impact symbol communication aids have on children with little or no intelligible speech cannot be underestimated with implications on everything from well being through friendships to educational achievement.”

“However, decisions about communication aid provision are complex and children who use symbolic systems present the greatest challenge in identifying appropriate aids. We want to further enhance the quality of life for these children but need to ensure that the current process is as effectual as it could be by determining how to optimise clinicians’ decisions when assigning the correct symbol communication aids.”

Co-Investigator Simon Judge (Barnsley NHS FT) said “D4D supported earlier work investigating the design of communication aids and this helped identify the need for this project. D4D have been key in supporting our aim of improving the design and provision of communication aids. We hope this project will have a significant long-term impact on the communication and well being of children using symbol communication aids.”

More information about the project can be found here.

TITCH gives Christmas present to Sheffield Children’s Hospital

Nathaniel Mills, Project Manager for the Paediatric Technologies Theme within D4D presented Professor Derek Burke, Medical Director at Sheffield Children’s Hospital (SCH), with a £250 gift voucher to purchase some new equipment for the children’s waiting areas at SCH. Professor Burke thanked the Paediatric Technologies Theme for the voucher, and said “This is a very generous gesture. The book token will be given to the play specialists at SCH to purchase some books“.

Devices for Dignity gave the voucher to the Paediatric Technologies Theme after winning joint first prize in the NIHR New Media Competition (Researcher Category) earlier this year. You can watch our prize-winning film here.

National Voices Survey – Accelerated Access Review

Can you spare 10-20 minutes? Giving patients and service users (including children) a stronger voice at every stage when new and innovative treatments are being developed is one of the key aims of the Government’s Accelerated Access ReviewNational Voices is working with the review team to develop a set of ‘I Statements’ which describe what this would mean in practice, from the perspective of people who use services. You can provide your views through a survey here. The survey closes on 14 January 2016.

Season’s Greetings

From all of us at Devices for Dignity we wish you a Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a successful 2016.

And more…


Our Independence and Dignity Survey was so successful that we have re-opened it.  If you have or had a long-term condition, or care for someone that does, tell us about it – please complete our survey, here.

If you have identified an unmet clinical need, please tell us about it through our Innovation Portal, here.

You can also find some of our reports and films here:


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