Understanding the development of advanced wound care in the UK: Interdisciplinary perspectives on care, cure and innovation

Mary Teresa Madden, James Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


George Winter’s 1962 paper in Nature reported his observation that wounds in young pigs healed more quickly if covered rather than being left open to the air. This has been widely regarded as the starting point for ‘advanced wound care’ because it established the idea that a wound dressing could influence outcomes. This paper argues that key to understanding innovation is placing technological advances within their broader historical and sociological context. As in other areas of healthcare, the development of innovation in wound care can be seen as a multifaceted, uneven and contested process, not the simple invention and introduction of ‘advanced’ products and services. Innovation in this field takes place at the intersection of historical changes in industry, scientific medicine, medical technologies, health care service delivery and the demographic and domestic spheres. Stemming from interdisciplinary exploration funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this paper presents a provocative argument that contemporary wound care in the UK has become something of a partnership between elite nurses and industry marketing, with important consequences for science and service users. Current challenges in wound care stem in large part from an emphasis on a biomedical model focused on products (albeit one not led by medics) at the expense of considering service design and a social or public health model of patient care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of tissue viability
Issue number2
Early online date27 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019

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© 2019 Tissue Viability Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

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