Monday 16th May 2022

Last week, Heart Valve Voice were in Belfast for the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (SCTS) Annual Meeting. We met with clinicians from across the UK, industry leaders and patients to listen, learn and share.

The Meeting was an opportunity for the team to meet with clinical leaders to understand the challenges they face and learn about what they’re doing to improve heart valve disease care. We met with clinicians from across the UK and were able to strengthen existing relationships, whilst building new relationships that will enhance our message and further our reach.

Through conversations with industry leaders, we understood what Industry is doing to help improve heart valve disease care and see the innovative solutions they have for streamlining heart valve disease treatment pathways and facilitating more heart valve disease treatment.

On Monday, we held our Patient Engagement Session. Here, we met with patients and carers with lived experience of heart valve disease care. We heard about the challenges Sandra faced in accessing treatment options. We heard from Mary about how important a strong relationship with your clinician is and the comfort that gave her during her treatment. We listened to the challenges Tom faced in caring for his wife while she underwent treatment and the importance of family members in recognising the progression of symptoms.

We also heard Kate’s story about her dad, John, who died while awaiting treatment for heart valve disease. Kate’s moving story highlighted the importance of events like this, as clinicians, industry leaders and patient groups come together to learn how we can support one another so all patients get the treatment they need.

Heart Valve Voice would like to thank all the patients and family members who attended. Your courage to share your deeply personal stories gives us the lived experience we need to affect change.

The Patient Engagement Session will form a platform for our future work in Northern Ireland, where we will publish a State of the Nation: Northern Ireland Report, which will look at heart valve disease care in Northern Ireland and set out a series of recommendations for how it can be improved.

Throughout the meeting, we invited delegates at the event and our heart valve disease community to participate in a 5km run throughout the Conference! This is our second Virtual 5km run, and we were delighted to see so many people of varying abilities participate. We're delighted to say that with a time of 20 minutes and 4 seconds, the winner was Andrew Jones. Thank you to all the runners for supporting the event and for donating money to our cause!

Heart Valve Voice Executive Director, Wil Woan, said: “What a fantastic few days in Belfast for myself and the team at Heart Valve Voice. Firstly, it was wonderful to see so many people for the first time in two years and be back together again to listen, share, and learn from each other. The team got a huge amount out of our time in Belfast, and I want to thank everyone who came and spoke to us and offered their support for our future work. In particular, a huge thanks to the President, Mr Simon Kendell, for being so welcoming and for meeting our Northern Irish patients and welcoming them to the Meeting.

The Meeting has given us a huge platform for our future work across the UK, particularly our Northern Ireland Report, which we will release later this year. Thank you to the patients and carers for joining us and sharing their experiences and the clinicians who agreed to join our Northern Ireland Roundtable and contribute their clinical expertise to our report. I look forward to the Roundtable and our future work in Northern Ireland.”