The event is expected to attract well over 100 attendees from the sector and policy-makers and will include speeches by both the Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, and Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King MP.
One of the patients telling their story will be former NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon. John Watkins AM who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven year ago, a condition he has kept private until earlier this year. In January he agreed to undergo a seven-hour operation to attach a pacemaker device with leads into his brain known as deep brain stimulation.
“I often wish I didn’t have Parkinson’s but I can’t help thinking that as I do I am very fortunate to live in Australia and have access to first class surgical technology such as deep brain stimulation,” Mr Watkins said.
“As the disease has progressed I have developed an overwhelming sense of gratitude for life and for the medical research that has given me another chance at that life. It means that I can again travel, continue to work, play with my grand-kids, go for a walk, roll over in bed, and be involved in life rather than being an observer. To live rather than watch life pass by.”
Jenny Casey, another medtech beneficiary, will also be in attendance to share her story. Ms Casey received catheter ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation over a 5-year period, experiencing a staggering 15 attacks.
Atrial fibrillation is a major public health issue affecting around 460,000 Australians and is characterised by symptoms of shortness of breath, palpitations and chest pain. It is also associated with a 5 to 7-fold increase in the risk of stroke. The burden and impact of atrial fibrillation on our community is significant, financially and emotionally.
Along with the patients the event will hear from healthcare professionals speaking about the importance of co-designing devices with medical technology companies to deliver ongoing innovation which ultimately benefit patient outcomes.
Parliamentarians will be exposed to a range of technologies from the medical technology industry including an orthopaedic robotic arm and virtual reality device for the training of cataract removal.