Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has received £3 million from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to establish a new national HealthTech Research Centre to develop innovative health technologies for people with long-term conditions.

The new centre, which will be known as the NIHR Devices for Dignity HealthTech Research Centre, forms part of a wider Government investment which will see the establishment of 14 HealthTech Research Centres across England from 1 April 2024.

The new centres will replace the successful NIHR Medtech and In Vitro Diagnostic Co-operatives (MIC), which come to an end in March 2024. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals led the development of one of the first MICs called Devices for Dignity 15 years ago.

Devices for Dignity has been a catalyst within the NHS for the development of new medical devices and healthcare technologies to support patients with long-term conditions and particularly with issues relating to loss of dignity and independence.

Dr David Black, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this funding to develop one of the new national HealthTech Research Centres. This is the next step which builds on the legacy of our current NIHR Medtech and MIC called Devices for Dignity (D4D).

“D4D is already a leading national organisation driving life-changing research into innovative technologies and championing the development of user-led technology to ensure they have the greatest benefit and impact for patients.

“This new funding will accelerate and enhance this work ultimately benefitting people living with long-term conditions across the UK and further afield.”

The new centre in Sheffield will be a partnership with the city’s universities and institutions across the country including universities and NHS Trusts in Cambridge, Coventry, Leeds, London, Manchester, Rotherham and Doncaster as well as industry, healthcare professionals, patient groups and the public to identify unmet needs, generate evidence and accelerate new technologies into clinical practice.

The five-year funding will support the development of technologies in long-term neurological conditions, diabetes, kidney care and rehabilitation.

The NIHR Devices for Dignity HealthTech Research Centre will also have a key national role in developing technologies to improve women’s health and will address the mental health aspects which may accompany long-term health conditions.

Professor Lucy Chappell, chief scientific adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care and CEO of the NIHR, said: “The increased funding for the HealthTech Research Centres will build capacity and expertise in health technologies, bring new innovations to market and enable people to live healthier, better-quality lives.”

In October, Digital Health News reported that Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, after implementing RLDatix’s Allocate Transport Marketplace solution, has been able to eliminate 12-hour trolley breaches for patients waiting for transport and see its average transport waiting time drop to just five minutes.