While there are many things wrong health systems around the world, there are amazing advances too
We should not be always focussed on the negatives like waiting lists and overcrowding.
Recent years have seen some of the most amazing medical advances which give more hope to people of all ages.
One of the big research breakthroughs was of course the Covid-19 vaccine. It was also discovered that steroids and arthritis drugs could help save the lives of people seriously ill with Covid-19.
But there have been breakthroughs in other big areas too, like the repair of the human liver using lab grown cells.
Two years ago the first procedure of its kind was performed showing that a damaged human liver could be repaired with mini-bile ducts grown in a lab. These bile ducts operate as the liver’s waste disposal system.
The future will see greater use of lab grown organs, perhaps reducing the pressure on organ donation.
In another development, in 2020, researchers at University College London identified a pioneering breast cancer therapy that was found to be as effective as conventional treatment. The new treatment takes just 30 minutes.
In the case of cystic fibrosis, recently doctors found that an oral antibiotic can treat a common complication at home.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Research, these and some of the other most important medical discoveries over the past 80 years – including aspirin, penicillin and the contraceptive pill – would never have happened if it were not for the hard work of scientists, researchers and volunteers.
Of course the big winners are patients.
The big areas to watch for developments in the near future will also be gene therapy, robotics and stem cell technology.
Doctors say the big areas to watch for breakthroughs are in current clinical trials using a diabetes drug to treat Parkinson’s disease, a potential new treatments for ovarian cancer, trials to treat muscular dystrophy and circulating tumour cells.
These are important advances that should give patients real hope and increasingly people should be able to get healthcare abroad if the new technologies are not yet available in their own country.