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21st Century Health: the Impact from Stadium to Street


Dr John Coakley, medical director of Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 


GE Healthcare’s latest mammography platform Senographe Essential

The impact of the London 2012 Olympics and the potential for a lasting legacy to benefit the health of the nation were highlighted earlier this week at the launch of a new GE report ‘From Stadium to Street: what could we learn from the staging of the Games’ at London’s National Gallery – the temporary home to the celebrated Leonardo da Vinci exhibition.

Following a private tour of the collection, a panel of experts debated the implications of the report findings and gave their perspective on the true legacy of the Games – to inspire solutions to some of the toughest challenges of our age such as those relating to infrastructure, transportation, power generation and healthcare.

One of the biggest challenges facing the 2012 Games will be to provide high quality medical care, not only for the competing athletes and the thousands of visitors during the Games, but also to deliver a sustainable healthcare legacy for the residents of east London long after the last medallists have gone home.

Speaking at the debate, Dr John Coakley the medical director of Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, highlighted the particular medical challenges faced by Hackney and the other Olympic boroughs which serve to place the spotlight on many of the healthcare challenges faced by wider society – rising obesity and poor standards of public health.

He also referenced the specific local problem of premature births, which GE is helping to address with its £4.8 million legacy donation of leading edge medical technology for a new neonatal unit at the hospital, which opened in December 2010. The equipment includes incubators, scanners and other devices used to sustain life in very premature babies.

GE is also helping the east London hospital to screen and diagnose breast cancer with the donation of GE Healthcare’s latest mammography platform Senographe Essential. Screening mammography has been shown to detect cancer at an earlier stage of the growth cycle, and can help significantly reduce mortality from breast cancer.

According to Dr Coakley, the impending London 2012 Games have helped garner support for some vital health measures to benefit the local community, which would probably never have happened without the Games. As a result, Homerton Hospital is able to continue to build on areas of treatment excellence such as neo-natal care and work to improve local standards of public health thereby helping to secure the future of generations to come in east London.