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Kings Fund

Monday 9th July 2018

On the 26 July, Wil Woan, CEO Heart Valve Voice and Patient Ambassador Geoffrey Pritchard sat on the discussion panel for an informative debate hosted by the King’s Fund. The Debate titled The NHS is well equipped to adopt innovative technologies even in the current economic climate was chaired by Helen Bevan, Chief Transformation Officer, NHS Horizon Group, NHS England and discussed the adoption and spread of innovation in the health care system.

Evidence shows that the spread and adoption of innovation in health care in the UK has proven to be a big challenge across the system. The discussion panel shared case studies that emphasised the need for innovation to help in the transformation of health and care services to improve the lives and experiences of patients. The group discussed key points around innovation including access for vulnerable groups, crossing national boundaries, patient engagement, technology and the digital sphere, working and collaborating with others, local innovation and clinical entrepreneurship.

Both perspectives, for and against the idea that the NHS was equipped to adopt innovative technologies given the current economic climate were presented to the 80+ attendees who included AHSNs, Industry and hospital administration staff. The motions were supplied by Professor Debra De Silva, Head of Evaluation at The Evidence Centre and Professor Donal O’Donoghue, Medical Director of the Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network, Consultant Renal Physician at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Professor of Renal Medicine at University of Manchester and President of the Renal Association.

Wil and Geoffrey’s role on the panel was to provide the patient perspective. Wil expressed how the importance of technological innovation and research in the treatment of heart valve disease has consistently shown improvements in the way valve disease patients are diagnosed and treated. Using the examples of innovative treatment options like TAVI and minimally invasive surgeries he demonstrated that, “older patients are being treated more effectively, recovering much quicker and getting back a significantly improved quality of life. This is providing advantage for the whole system as these people are able to give back to society in so many ways such as caring for their family or working within their communities.”

Geoffrey was able to present a first hand perspective to the group though his experiences as a valve disease patient recently treated using a new innovative valve. As a Former Engineer in the Royal Airforce, Geoffrey has always remained active until his mitral regurgitation began to slow him down. Following his minimally invasive valve repair treatment in 2018, Geoffrey was back on his feet in a matter of days and was back to his favourite activities including gardening and golf. Geoffrey’s story and experience are great examples of the need for innovative technologies in health care, “The choice between the minimally invasive treatment I received and open heart surgery was an easy one as I didn’t think I could handle a long recovery at this stage in my life. As my treatment is not currently covered by the NHS, I’m really grateful that I was able to receive it and think that it should be an option for everyone in my situation” said Geoffrey. “My recovery was quick and bearable and I can only imagine the cost savings of having patients like me in and out of treatment so quickly.”