The SDMA exists to serve companies who manufacture, distribute or supply wound management and associated products within the UK and Ireland. It has a membership who between them provide a large majority of such products to the NHS. Member companies range in size from small family companies to major multinational organisations – but each company has an equal voice regardless of size. One of the great strengths of the SDMA is the inclusive nature of its membership.
Our activities are wide-ranging and usually concentrate on issues that are affecting the wound care market as a whole. The SDMA acts as a voice for the membership as a whole, wherever that is needed. It can, and does, represent the views of the wound care industry to bodies such as:
- National purchasing and procurement functions.
- Regulators such as the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).
- The administrators of the Drug Tariff and the Drug Tariff Forum – covering both England/Wales and Scotland versions.
- The Department of Health Commercial Directorate and Business Services Authority.
- The BSI (British Standards Institute) and CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation), including representation on several UK and European standards committees.
- Along with many other professional organisations and similar bodies.
The SDMA can, when appropriate, approach any of these bodies on behalf of member companies to help resolve industry issues that may arise. Information from all of the above bodies is regularly fed back to all members, both during meetings and in regular e-mailings. It is available at short-notice should anything significant occur that affects the industry as a whole, and can take an organising role, for example with emergency situations or incidents covered by the Civil Contingencies Act.
The SDMA has a General Committee that acts as its controlling body and deals with all industry-related topics. Other committees are formed as necessary to provide additional support. Included here are a Technical Committee that deals with national standards, regulatory issues and test methods. The SDMA can also host workgroups looking at specific types of product. In the past this has included groups looking at compression bandaging and wound dressing testing. The workgroups have often led in the drafting of British and European standards, most notably with BS EN 13726 in its various parts. That standard defines some of basic properties of wound dressings, such as absorbency, vapour permeability, waterproofness, conformability and odour control. Currently, the SDMA is helping to review European wound dressing performance standards.
The SDMA has a well-known and established Code of Practice covering the promotion of wound management and associated products to healthcare professionals. This code has operated very successfully for many years and has succeeded in gaining a wide level of respect. There is strong encouragement for any complaints under the code to be resolved amicably between the parties concerned, although an independent expert panel is available to adjudicate if necessary. The code was introduced at the request of, and with the full support of all the member companies. It entered its fifth revision in February 2014 and is subject to continual review. It is a condition of membership that companies abide by the code for promotional activities to healthcare professionals in the British Isles.
All members of the SDMA are entitled and encouraged to take a full part in all aspects of its work. Not only do the companies gain, but their people benefit greatly from the experience and networking opportunities – as well as hopefully enjoying being involved.