South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, based in Middlesbrough in the north-east of England, is one of two clinical partners who are involved in the SocketSense project, alongside Servicio Andaluz de Salud (SAS) in Seville, Spain. The Trust has been involved in many aspects of the project since the start in January 2019, but it has been particularly involved in the work programs in the project in the development of biomechanics analytical models and the clinical tests and trials of the sensors, the latter of which South Tees is leading on.
The Trust is currently working alongside partners to assist in gathering data from patients to assist in the development of biomechanics analytical models, however due to the current global situation in relation to Covid19, this has had, and continues to have, an impact on how we have been able to move this area of the project forward. Hospital sites in both the UK and Spain have been closed to all but essential patients and most areas of research have had to be put on hold, therefore causing a delay in allowing patients on to the hospital site to take part in the project. This has given the partners an opportunity to review the deliverables of the project and to make decisions on how we can move forward if Covid19 restrictions continue to be an issue. At the moment the intention to recruit a small number of patients to provide data for the biomechanics analytical models continues, and patients will take part in initial screening at The James Cook University Hospital site and then take part in biomechanics data collection at the gait laboratory located at Teesside University, also in Middlesbrough, once restrictions are lifted and sites become open to visitors.
Work is also continuing on the clinical trials and tests, where the hospital is reviewing patient data to assess how many of its patients are suitable for the larger proof of concept trial. The patient data has been collated with help from the Trust’s prothestists, in order to ensure those patients approached are suitable for the trial. It is hoped that Covid19 does not cause any further delays in this aspect of the project but plans have also been put in place, should this occur, to ensure the project provides a suitable outcome. The Trust has been warmly welcomed by our partners around Europe over the last 18 months, with an initial kick off visit hosted by KTH in a very wintry Stockholm, Sweden in February 2019; to a very pleasantly warm Seville in February 2020 hosted by SAS; with a trip to report to the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. It was also great for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to host a milestone meeting in Middlesbrough in June 2019, giving the opportunity for partners to come together to discuss the project, but also to meet a trans-femoral amputee to give a patient perspective.