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Is there a doctor in the House? Patients and clinicians join MTG at House of Commons

Jo Churchill MP hosted Medical Technology Group members and over 150 supporters at an event on the terrace at the House of Commons on Tuesday 6th December for Medical Technology Week 2016 (5th-9th December).

The event was the centrepiece of a number of activities and events marking the fourth annual Medical Technology Week.  It was attended by a number of parliamentarians and staff who are regular and consistent supporters of the MTG and its campaigns.

The theme for this fourth Medical Technology Week is improving access to medical technology on the NHS, and the event afforded guests the opportunity to examine a range of available medical technologies – from flexible stents that respond to body heat to replacement knee joints that caught at least one MP’s eye (!) to medical pads that encourage wound healing – and to engage with patients whose lives had been transformed as a result of a medical device.

First to speak, and joined on stage by his Interventional Neuroradiologist, was Joe Wennell.  Joe had a stroke at 22 but who was lucky enough to have timely access to a procedure called a ‘mechanical thrombectomy’, in which a Solitaire™ Revascularisation Device inserted at the groin was used to capture and remove the clot that caused his stroke.  After his treatment at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, he got back to full-time employment within three months, and his life once more holds all the potential that seemed – for a few crucial days in the summer – lost forever.  It’s still early days for Joe, and he’s not quite 100%, but anyone fortunate to hear him speak will have been left in no doubt that he will get there sooner rather than later.

Also accompanied by his surgeon from across the Thames at St Thomas’ Hospital, was Dean Walker.  A former national water polo player and builder, Dean was crippled with back pain after a workplace accident 10 years ago.  In 2012, he had an HF10 Therapy pain control device implanted – which he recharges wirelessly every day – and was able to lift his then five year old daughter for the first time.  He got to see Team GB play at the London Olympics – and while he didn’t say so, the emotional pain of seeing them lose all their matches was probably nearly as acute as the physical pain he had been living with for nearly six years – and is back to regular swimming.  His device fixed not just his immediate condition, but continues to further improve his own physical and psychological health, he has been able to return to work, and his whole family is benefitting.

Melissa Holloway, who has Type 1 diabetes, lived with having to self-inject insulin several times every day from the age of 12, but now that she has an insulin pump delivering a constant and steady flow of short-acting insulin around the clock, she has clawed back control of her daily routine and her life.  She has been able to embrace opportunities that might have seemed ill-advised a few years ago, including becoming a mother, and now has a fulfilling career as a copywriter.

Too often, the focus on medical technology is on cost.  Yes, we know that upfront costs can appear at first glance to be expensive, but they are spread out across the lifespan of the device.  And, as these stories show, not only are longer-term treatment costs reduced in almost every medical technology intervention, these technologies should be seen in the round – it’s not just about health benefits, but also about the related social impact and other benefits that help healthy people build healthy relationships, families and communities.  And we can all benefit from these.

See more about Joe and Dean’s stories in our video.

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