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Working together securing better outcomes for patients and industry – Poots & Foster

Academic, clinical and business collaborations are helping to secure better outcomes for patients with cardiac problems.
Friday, 8 February 2013

Academic, clinical and business collaborations are helping to secure better outcomes for patients with cardiac problems.

That was the message from the Health Minister, Edwin Poots and Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster as they addressed the Life Sciences/Cardiology Conference in Craigavon. The conference will focus on the world-leading, innovative expertise in cardiology that has been developed in the Craigavon Area Hospital.

Speaking at the conference, Minister Poots said: “I am delighted to see the mutually beneficial work underway involving academics, clinicians and businesses. We in Government are doing what we can to create an environment that supports such interactions. The allocation of our regional Health and Social Care Research & Development fund is enabling Health and Social Care Trusts to develop research ideas and to generate evidence of the effectiveness of new medicines, diagnostics, medical devices or other treatments.

“In such a short space of time Northern Ireland has progressed quite a distance towards having an excellent research and innovation system for healthcare. The Southern Health and Social Care Trust has very successfully developed its expertise in Cardiology research. Staff at the hospital are working closely with local academics and Life Sciences companies that are developing innovative products for global markets. I would like to congratulate the staff on their hard work and dedication to improving outcomes for patients.”

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Locally, we recognise the importance of having a joint approach to developing our Life Sciences sector. Through the application of innovative technology and medical practice we can provide better patient care, at reduced cost, as well as generate significant economic benefits.

“From drug discovery and clinical trials, to medical device diagnostics, biotechnology and systems biology, Northern Ireland’s products and expertise are making their mark locally and globally. This is helped, in part, by Invest Northern Ireland, which has offered support to companies, organised trade missions, hosted inward visits and brokered strategic alliances.

“The active participation in today’s event by a diverse range of stakeholders, creates a cross disciplinary approach, through which we can maximise the potential of our Life Sciences sector and generate significant economic benefits.”

Mayor of Craigavon, Councillor Carla Lockhart said: “I am delighted to host this cutting-edge conference today. This marks the start of Craigavon as a centre of excellence for health, bio-business and technology.”

Notes to editors:

1. Life Sciences companies such as those participating in the Cardiology event, in collaboration with Trusts and academia, have a strong track record of success in competitions for funds from economic development bodies such as Technology Strategy Board as well as InvestNI. The companies span pharmaceuticals, diagnostics (Randox Laboratories) and medical devices (Intelesens, Heartsine) as well as the all-island industry representative body Bio business supported through InvestNI and member subscriptions. They benefit considerably through appropriate access to Trust patients; the patients benefit through early access to potentially improved clinical practices or treatments and the high standards of care that are provided to clinical trial participants; and the Trust benefits both financially and in early access to healthcare innovations.

2. The Northern Ireland Programme for Government has a commitment to expand cardiac catheterisation capacity to improve access to diagnostic intervention and treatment and the development of a new primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The planned introduction of this service will help to reduce mortality and morbidity arising from heart attack in a certain group of patients.

3. Catheterisation laboratories or cath labs are examination rooms with diagnostic imaging equipment where a specialist team can diagnose and treat heart conditions using catheters instead of surgery. Many procedures encompassing interventional and diagnostic work can be done in the cath lab instead of an operating room. There are nine permanent cath labs at four sites in Northern Ireland (Altnagelvin, Belfast City, Craigavon and Royal Victoria Hospitals).

4. Media enquiries about this press release to the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0567. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Office via pager number on 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.