Season’s Greetings from NIHR CYP MedTech Director, Prof Paul Dimitri

Friday 23 December 2022

Christmas is a time for celebration but often a time for reflection as well. The last year has been hugely productive for the NIHR Children and Young People MedTech Cooperative as we continue to ensure that the health and healthcare of children and young people is supported with the best and most advanced technology.

Our team carried out a review of our activity from when we first started in January 2018, which demonstrates the value of focussing on technology development for children and young people. NIHR CYP MedTech has leveraged £11.8 million in funding, held 127 workshops, events and interviews involving children and young people, hosted 9 PhDs, presented at 62 conferences and events, and been involved in 173 projects of which 54% included an industry partner. On 1st December we took a significant step forward in our goals as Sheffield Children’s Hospital received planning permission to build the new National Centre for Child Health Technology, which is set to bring industry, academics, clinicians and most importantly children and their families together to focus on developing technologies that address some of the most challenging issues in paediatrics and child health.

The Child Health Technology Conference CHT2022, built on the success of the CHT2021 conference. We elected to hold CHT2022 virtually to ensure that we had a global reach to support the overarching theme of the conference, building a global child health technology community. This theme was selected as we truly believe collaboration and partnership is the key to delivering the best healthcare for children in as many places as possible. With speakers presenting from 13 different countries as far as New Zealand, USA, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia, our conference delivered on our global endeavours and received fantastic feedback. We have welcomed delegates and speakers from 27+ countries at our last two conferences. CHT2023 will be launched shortly and will take place in November 2023 on our state-of-the-art virtual platform entitled ‘Advancing Global Child Health Through Digital Innovation and Technology’ thereby continuing the global theme and aim to build our global child health technology community.

As we move into 2023, we cannot ignore the enormous challenges that we are facing that are having significant impact on the lives of children and young people. The impact of the pandemic, the global energy crisis and other major global events have created one of the most challenging economic environments that the UK and other countries have had to face.  Health inequalities have negatively impacted on the health of children and young people with children in the poorest communities being at >20% risk of dying compared to those in the most affluent communities. Mental health issues in children and young people are at their greatest level ever, demonstrating the value in our recent funding call to support the mental health of children and young people with long-term conditions. As we move into 2023 it is vital that we focus on technology development that is inclusive of all children and that we aim to support health and healthcare in a way that aims to tackle health inequalities.

I would like to thank you all for your commitment to developing the best healthcare for the children and young people we look after

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous Christmas,

Paul Dimitri
Director of NIHR CYP MedTech