EACTS conference afternoon 2019

EACTS conference afternoon 2019

Friday 4th October 2019

Day One- Afternoon ​Having spoken about all the advancements in treatment options I now wanted to know what barriers were stopping patients accessing these treatments.

I spoke to Stuart Grant and he said access and knowledge of treatment options were a blocking point. There simply doesn't appear to be enough hospitals offering MIS treatment as common practice and the range of valves on offer is often limited.

I find this very frustrating, geography shouldn’t be an issue, surely? The recovery from MIS surgery is so much quicker, with most MIS patients I’ve spoken to doing most household tasks within a month of surgery. Imagine you have a partner who is dependent on your for care - would you not want the choice to have treatment where the time from surgery to back to helping your loved ones was that much quicker?

Take away the obvious aesthetic benefits in terms of scarring, the time it takes people to get back and living their lives as normal is so important. This is a crucial part of patient experience.

Stuart thinks that the barriers limiting patient and clinician ability to decide are improving. Ultimately, it seems to me that role of Heart Valve Voice and other Patient Advocate groups is going to be very important. Once people have all the information in front of them regarding all aspects of their treatment and care, then they can make a more informed decision based on what they need.

It was good to talk to Stuart as he obviously has a considered opinion of the patient experience. So, whilst many people I have encountered with Heart Valve Voice, and personally, have experience of the barriers he mentioned, it is good to know professional are aware and consciously trying to overcome them.

Broadly speaking, I feel quite positive that our great medical community have patient experience, and how that relates to treatment options, at the forefront of their minds. However, it is clear that there is still a lot more to be done. I think that we as patients need to do as much as we can to push the agenda along and make sure each experience is used as a vehicle for future change.

This evening (while Wil disappeared off to play football at the EACTS Conference Cup) I’ve thought a lot about how we access advancements in surgery and how this relates to patient experience. Once a patient is informed about all the options available to them, then they can make an informed, confident and and personal choice about what treatment option is best for them.