The Countess of Wessex officially opened the Healing Foundation Centre for Burns Research based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on Tuesday 21st October.


The centre, which is a partnership between the University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), the Ministry of Defence, Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, University College London and the Royal Free Hospital in London, will look at understanding how the body responds to burn injury and developing new treatments for repair.

Her Royal Highness, who is actively involved with the Healing Foundation as Patron, met staff and patients including ex-soldier and Pride of Britain Award winner Karl Hinett at the Centre.

Karl, who lives in Dudley, suffered 37% burns when the tank he was in whilst serving in Iraq was petrol bombed. He underwent five years of operations at the hospital.

As well as improving our understanding of how the body responds to burn injury in adults and children, the £6 million Centre also carries out translational clinical research to find new treatments.

Its Director, Mr Naiem Moiemen, a consultant in burns and plastics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “We were delighted to welcome The Countess of Wessex here and were proud to show her some of the remarkable research happening here in Birmingham.

“Approximately 11,000 people are admitted to UK hospitals each year with serious burns and around half of these are children under 16.

“Attention to the need for improved care for burn injuries has been heightened by the injuries of returning service personnel from Afghanistan, Iraq and other conflicts.

“Treatment priorities are to save lives, to heal wounds and to reduce the unsightly scarring that all too often leads to functional impairment and significant psychological damage.”

On her tour of the laboratories, the Countess gave a demonstration from the SIFTI (Scientific Investigation of the Biological Pathways Following Thermal Injury in Adults and Children) study by Dr Peter Hampson, Professor Janet Lord, Mr Chris Wearn and Dr Paul Harrison.

This is the first multi-centre prospective observational cohort study investigating the various responses to severe burns to be conducted in the UK.

After chatting with patients from QEHB and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, military staff and donors, the Countess unveiled a plaque.

  • Watch ITV Central's coverage of the royal visit
  • Read about the event in the Birmingham Mail