Professor Gerry Bennett developed a business case for the Tissue Viability Unit back in 1990, a joint development with Professor Irene Leigh from Barts and The London Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry. Gerry was the driving force in developing the East London Wound Healing Centre, one of the first truly multidisciplinary wound clinics and specialist-led in-patient unit in the UK. This stemmed from his interest in pressure ulcers and Professor Leigh’s interest in leg ulcers. The focus was initially elderly care but quickly expanded.
Gerry was visionary in so many areas of his work and life. Any literature search will find his name on numerous publications in Gerontology, Wound Care, Pressure ulcers and the prevention of elder abuse. He was a co-founder of many societies: The Tissue Viability Society, the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, Action on Elder Abuse and International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. He galvanised clinicians to get involved; where he saw potential in others, he supported and encouraged, expecting much. Clinics were filled with laughter as he told his latest story over coffee; he was a fabulous raconteur!
He was well loved by his patients because they knew that he respected them as people first. Many medical students and colleagues would have been influenced by his approach and role model. Staff and patients mourned his loss. At the announcement of his untimely death, messages to his family, friends and colleagues came from across the globe. Clinicians were proud to be able to say that they were colleagues and had worked alongside him.
So as we reflect on the history of Accelerate, Gerry remains here as an integral thread running through our history. He would be thrilled to see our development as it was a vision he had over 20 years ago.