A pioneering medical aid invented by a Welsh doctor has been fast-tracked into the mainstream market – having secured a lucrative national contract with the NHS.
Drawing on his many years in the clinical field, Dr Robert Lister, 54, a dermatologist at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, recognised a worrying trend amongst patients failing to wear the compression devices needed to manage vascular conditions and chronic oedema.
Talking to patients, many elderly, he found that a big issue was that the compressive nature of the standard one-piece garments supplied made them very difficult to put on or take off, especially for those who struggled to bend down or had dexterity issues.
In response, Dr Lister decided to take matters into his own hands by inventing a two-piece system which can be more simply manoeuvred over a patient’s foot, thereby making application and removal much easier.
Four years later, and the end result – the patented duomed soft® 2easy product – has been developed and fast-tracked to market by local medical supplier, medi UK and received NHS backing.
Since being made available on the NHS just three months ago, over 400 duomed soft® 2easy products have been purchased. This figure is expected to grow exponentially when the product becomes available for NHS prescription on 1st December 2021.
Talking of the rationale behind the invention, Dr Lister said:
“Unfortunately, over the years I’ve seen so many cases of patients living with chronic wounds which are unable to heal and continue to get worse. In the worst case scenario, this can lead to a badly smelling open wound which can be incredibly embarrassing and isolating, while severely impacting quality of life – not to mention the constant trips back and forth to the GP.
“Inherently, the problem is that the compression wear used to address these issues is hard to put on, particularly for those who are less able, meaning it just hasn’t been used.
“duomed soft ® 2easy changes this. It sounds so simple, but the fact that it is a two-piece rather than a singular garment makes it so much easier to get over the foot and past the ankle. Having, of course, tried it out amongst endless patients of varying capabilities, it’s safe to say it’s the easiest compression wear garment I’ve come across.
From inception through to delivery of the first batch of products to the NHS, duomed soft® 2easy took just four years to come to market – an incredibly quick turnaround for the highly regulated medical sector.
Key to this was the ongoing support of partner, medi UK who worked closely with Dr Lister to provide the resources, expertise and manufacturing capabilities needed to take the concept to market.
Andy Holman, Business Development Manager at medi UK comments:
“Here at medi UK, we believe that fostering a startup spirit is important no matter how large and successful your business – which is why we always go to such great lengths to nurture innovation and new ideas amongst the medical community.
“From the offset, we knew that Dr Lister’s concept was an incredibly innovative one which could revolutionise the ease of compression wear and drastically improve the quality of life for thousands of people across the country living with these types of conditions. We are therefore incredibly proud to have been able to help get it over the line and to the market so quickly and look forward to its mainstream adoption.”
As many as 90,000 people in the UK are required to wear compression wear to manage a variety of medical conditions, typically for life.