I’m involved – as a patient and non-professional – in a group helping to develop a research project looking at new ways of diagnosing and treating people with heart failure and related heart conditions. When it comes to medical issues, I think that the opinions of patients and non-professionals should be heard as well as those of clinicians and researchers. The public should play their part in medical decision making, rather than leaving all the responsibility to medical professionals.
I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2014 and referred to Dr Klaus Witte, who has helped stabilise my heart condition using a balance of different drugs. Dr Witte asked if I’d be willing to be part of the research group, and my wife and I have attended three sessions. We’ve read through, and in a small way, contributed to an application to get funding for the research.
I’ve really valued the opportunity to be part of the group, and it’s helped me gain a deeper understanding of research into heart failure and how this contributes to wider health issues. My background as a religious minister has enabled me to contribute to the ethical and existential issues linked to health research, such as how decisions are taken as to the treatments provided and who should receive them.
Being part of a medical research group – at the same University where I carried out research as a student – has been incredibly interesting and very enjoyable.