Kirsty Ettrick, CEO and founder of London Medical Concierge, discusses the future of personalised patient pathways for medical treatment.
When my husband, Neil, was diagnosed with a complex and aggressive cancer in early 2014 I knew I had to do everything in my power to save our family, I couldn't imagine my children growing up without their father and the thought of losing my husband was devastating. From the day we learned his diagnosis was terminal I fought for a chance to put his cancer into remission and to allow us more time together.
I spent every night searching for experts, treatments and options for him whilst torn between spending what little precious time we had left as a family.
It was one of those evenings I found Professor Justin Stebbing, who was willing to take on our case when so many others had previously refused us. He understood that giving up had never been something we would consider and that we needed to exhaust every opportunity available to him.
Sadly, Neil passed away in late 2014 leaving myself and his family devastated. The only solace we had was that we had done everything we possibly could to save him.
Following on from his death, my friends and family recognised the great lengths I had gone to, to find medical care and would often call asking if I could point them in the right direction when they needed to obtain a referral, second opinion on a diagnosis or advice on where to turn. I found that this was a much needed service and one that I could have used myself, a person to turn to and say "what do I do next?", someone to point me in the right direction.
I began to realise that guiding people to the right medical expert and treatments was something I was passionate about doing, no matter what the case, I was determined to help.
So, I set about building a network of experts who were highly regarded in their clinical fields as a "back-bone" of a new venture; London Medical Concierge to offer excellence in clinical care, to be there for people who needed steering in the right direction and to offer options to patients who may have lost hope.
A medical concierge service is often wrongly perceived as a product for the rich and the elite, but when a member of your family or a close friend receives a devastating diagnosis, you need answers, quickly and at an accessible cost, which is something we are now able to provide.
I think it is important for patients to be allowed to express their intentions and be understood by their doctors. I am passionate in the belief that patients should be allowed whenever possible to create their own personalised pathway through medical treatment.