British Business Embassy summit on assistive technology heads to birthplace of Paralympics

3 September 2012

A unique business summit hosted today by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) presents the UK’s excellence in assistive medical technologies to international business leaders.

The group will spend part of the day with a team from Stoke Mandeville Hospital and the National Spinal Injuries Centre — the birthplace of the Paralympics.

The summit aims to showcase the UK’s innovative support through products and services in assistive medical technologies, which enable people to live independent lives in their own homes and reduce the time spent in hospital and in care.

Anne Eden, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Stoke Mandeville Hospital, said: “We are delighted to be part of this event. It is right that Stoke Mandeville Hospital and the National Spinal Injuries Centre has not been forgotten as the birthplace of the Paralympics. We are proud of Professor Guttman’s legacy in establishing our spinal injury centre and creating the Paralympics.

“The ethos he instilled in the place still lives on and the UKTI event is a great opportunity for us to showcase and inspire further innovation to support those with spinal cord injury.”

Olympic legacy

The summit is part of UK Trade & Investment’s successful British Business Embassy which forms the centrepiece of the Government's international Olympics business legacy strategy and has already attracted over 3,000 business leaders and global figures from across the world during the Olympic Games.

Among those taking part in the day are: BBC journalist and Olympic torch bearer, Stuart Hughes, who lost his leg below the knee after stepping on a landmine while on assignment in Iraq; Barry West who was paralysed from the chest down after a car accident and who now campaigns tirelessly with the Back Up Trust; and Laura Turner, a visually impaired dressage rider who works closely with Riding for the Disabled.

Stuart Hughes of West London and a senior world affairs producer with BBC News said: “When I lost my leg at the age of 31 I thought my life and my career were over. However, thanks to a British prosthetics company, Blatchford, I have been able to work around the world as a BBC journalist using an artificial leg, including returning to war zones. Even when working on the front line I’ve never felt at a disadvantage, and that’s a credit to the expertise of the Blatchford team.”

Barry West, of Framfield, East Sussex said: "I am forever appreciative of the amazing help and support I received from Stoke Mandeville. The technological advances teamed with the staff's knowledge and skill has helped me to where I am today. Not only did they care for me through those crucial months, they also introduced me to the Back Up Trust who have changed my life forever. These fantastic people and the medical technology that has helped me overcome many challenges, are a real credit to the UK."

Laura Turner, of Atherstone, Warwickshire said: "Assistive technology has allowed me to do everything any other 27 year old can do. I have continued as a dressage rider, worked and taken up many hobbies. We should be proud of what this country has achieved in medical engineering and technology — but most of all, in its contribution to helping people like me, live life to the full."

Speakers and delegates will spend part of the day at Stoke Mandeville and part at Lancaster House in London. While at Stoke Mandeville, they will be invited to view a series of themed exhibitions, a short film and a wheelchair rugby training session.

Assisted living seminar

Seminars at the core event based at Lancaster House, will focus on advances in function and mobility, innovation for health and wellbeing, advances in medical rehabilitation and assisted living in action.

The day will be hosted by Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS In England and other speakers will include, Sir Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust; General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman, Project Director of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre; Professor Guang-Zhong Yang from Imperial College, London; Dr Sandeep Shah, Tarilian Laser Technologies; and Andy Hull from the Feelgood Factory.

Sir Bruce said: “As the Medical Director of the NHS in England, I’m particularly pleased to be hosting today’s event to showcase the excellent clinical work being done here in the UK to rehabilitate people who have traumatic injuries, and how we are using cutting edge UK innovation to improve the lives of people with chronic diseases and disabilities as well as the frail and elderly.”

Driven by the demands of the National Health Service and a highly skilled manufacturing base, the UK provides new solutions, technical improvements and innovation and remains at the heart of cutting edge developments. The demanding field of elite sport is fertile ground for innovation in the UK, to transform performance and achieve outstanding results.

Among the companies taking part in the day, that have helped to achieve these results, are Hertfordshire-based Trekinetic All Terrain Ltd, Touch Bionics Ltd of Livingston, Scotland and McLaren Applied Technologies of Woking, Surrey, and Tarilian Laser Technologies of Hertfordshire.

Sport and engineering

Following the summit, The Royal Academy of Engineering, on 4 September, is hosting a series of sessions focussing on how sport can drive engineering innovation in partnership with the UK Government’s Science and Innovation Network (SIN), the HealthTech and Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UKTI.

The event will feature speakers including Kelvin Davies, BAE Systems UK, Prof Kamiar Aminian, EPFL, Switzerland, and Dr Amit Goffer, Argo Medical technologies, Israel. Speakers from the British Business Embassy will also be present at this event including Stuart Hughes and Professor Saeed Zahedi.

During the Olympic Games the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chancellor, Business Secretary, Foreign Secretary and over 30 other ministers have welcomed over 3,000 business leaders and global figures to the Global Investment Conference and a series of Global Business Summits at the British Business Embassy in London as part of an 18-day programme.

The series of global business summits is the largest and most ambitious set of trade and investment events ever held in this country, and has allowed businesses and Governments to exchange views and ideas, discuss local and international economic challenges, develop strong global partnerships for future growth and showcase the best of British business to the world.


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