82% of Irish men and women have said they want easier access to innovative surgical treatments to treat incontinence and support a better quality of life, according to new research by Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT).

The research was carried out by iReach, on behalf of Medtronic to mark MedTech Week 2017, with 1001 people (48% male, 52% female) across Ireland sampled from the 26th May to 1st June 2017 using an online survey and a consumer panel.

The data, presented at a MedTech Week event, has also found that:

  • Just 35% would be comfortable reporting their incontinence problems to a nurse, 32% to a consultant, 14% to a friend and 11% to a physiotherapist. Just 39% of adults surveyed would be comfortable talking about their incontinence to a family member and 14% to a friend.
  • 55% of respondents are likely to accept non-invasive surgical treatment in order to resolve issues with incontinence, with 50% of respondents also willing to consider physiotherapy;
  • Compared to all cohorts, middle-aged adults are most likely to favour non-invasive surgical treatments, with 61% of males selecting this treatment option as a means to resolve issues with incontinence;

To celebrate MedTech Week 2017, Medtronic also hosted a roundtable discussion to consider the research findings with patient groups, clinicians and representatives of the medical technology sector.  Participants emphasised that incontinence remains an under-treated condition as Irish patients remain uncomfortable in seeking treatment, as the research has revealed, and supported a call for the Irish healthcare system to harness the potential of innovative incontinence treatments to enhance patient outcomes. There was also agreement in calling for the optimisation of care pathways to ensure the most comprehensive treatments for pelvic floor disorders are available to patients in Ireland.

In a subsequent parliamentary exhibition, which was attended by TDs, Senators and patients, innovative bladder and bowel control therapies enabled by medical technology were put on display. Attendees were also given a first-hand account of how the use of such therapies can bring about significant improvements in the quality of life of incontinence sufferers.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Mary Pat Fitzgerald, Consultant Gynaecologist at Bon Secours Hospital Galway, said: “Bladder control problems can significantly impair the quality of our lives, and as our discussions, today have shown many patients are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about the problem with a medical professional. It is critically important that we bring this condition out in the open so another generation does not suffer in silence.”

Dr. Eleanor Faul, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital said: “Today’s event is much needed to raise awareness of incontinence and the range of innovative therapies that are available for Irish patients. Technological advancements are enabling the development of new treatment options for those suffering with a loss of bowel control. Moreover, the clinical benefits of surgical technology are clear; they often relieve symptoms when other treatments fail and give a new lease of life to silent sufferers across Ireland.”  

Jackie Fielding, Vice President UK and Ireland at Medtronic, said: “MedTech Week 2017 is an important opportunity for Medtronic to highlight the value of medical technologies. Ireland has a leading role in the vibrant European MedTech industry and there is a need to draw greater awareness to the innovative surgical treatments available. We hope that by partnering with patient groups and clinicians in Ireland in the area of incontinence our MedTech Week event will help bring greater attention to the options available to those affected by incontinence to ensure they no longer suffer in silence.”

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