University of Bristol: Survey to improve international burns care launches today

The Priorities in Global Burns Research Partnership is a collaboration between the James Lind Alliance and the University of Bristol, funded by the National Institute for Health Research. It is run by a Steering Group made up of clinicians, representatives from different international organisations involved in burns care and research, including patients and members of the public.

Burn injuries affect 11 million people world-wide and 140,000 patients in England each year. Around 70% of burns happen in the lower income countries such as in Africa and South-East Asia. Many patients with burns have difficulties which affect their daily lives in lots of different ways, such as walking, dressing, mental health and the challenges of living with scars. Despite the importance of these issues, there is limited research evidence available to inform healthcare professionals how to make treatment decisions. This limits progress, results in care that varies between hospitals, and means patients may not get the best results.

Dr Amber Young, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Surgical Research, Bristol Biomedical Research Centre and Consultant paediatric anaesthetist, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust is leading the project. She said: “We want to find out which top ten questions about burn care we currently don’t have answers for because we need more evidence. We will firstly ask patients, carers, and healthcare professionals from different countries around the world (especially those from countries where most burns happen) what they think the most important unanswered questions are. We will do this using an online survey and through interviews.

“Secondly, we will ask patients and healthcare professionals to rank these questions according to which ones they think are the most and least important. Then, we will take the top 18 most important questions to a meeting with patients and hospital staff to agree the top-ten.”

Campaigner Simon Weston, a Welsh veteran of the British Army who is known for his charity work and recovery from severe burn injuries suffered during the Falklands War, welcomed the initiative. He added: “As a survivor of burns, and advocate for all those affected by and living with burns scars, I completely support the global burns research priority setting project.”

These top-ten research questions will be used as information for research funders and researchers so that studies can focus on the issues that are most important to patients and clinicians. In this way, this project will aim to find answers to the most important research questions in burn care across the world so people can make the best decisions about care based on evidence.

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