Medical device manufacturers are in the midst of a major political showdown over whether to push for the controversial approval of a new class of medical devices, the “ambler surgical” devices that allow surgeons to perform small-scale operations.
The devices have been championed by medical researchers and patients as a potential replacement for surgery.
In recent months, the Federal Government has begun to consider a proposal to allow patients to access these devices without a doctor’s consent.
While it is unclear how many patients would be affected by the proposal, some patients have expressed concerns that the devices could put them at risk of infections or even death.
“I feel as though I am being put at risk in this regard by this device,” said a woman with a history of hip surgery who did not want to be named.
“It is a very, very risky device.”
Ms Laxmibai said that while she believed that the new devices were safe, she was not convinced that they would be effective.
“The devices are not as safe as what we had seen before, in terms of the blood flow, and I do not believe that there is an adequate level of blood flow to allow this to be achieved.”
While the new device is not a new device, it has received considerable attention because of concerns that it could be dangerous.
“There are a lot of very serious concerns with the technology that is being developed,” said Dr Nicky MacKinnon, a senior lecturer in surgery at the University of Sydney.
“These devices can cause harm if you do not have adequate blood flow.”
Dr MacKammons team has been working on a prototype that would allow surgeons and patients to perform a large number of small-sized operations with little risk of infection.
She said that the device would allow for more effective surgical techniques and better patient outcomes.
However, the proposed approval by the Federal Health Minister, Peter Dutton, has prompted concerns that some surgeons might opt not to use the device, or even opt to continue using the standard type of surgery they have used for decades.
Dr Mac Kammons is also concerned about how the new technology might affect the safety of surgical instruments used in other countries.
“They may have to stop using the device and they may not be able to keep using it for the time being,” she said.
“This would make the Australian system a lot more vulnerable to infection.”
The Australian Medical Association, which represents about 200,000 doctors, has opposed the new approval of the devices.
The AMA’s president, Dr Paul Beddington, said that many of the issues raised by the technology were also relevant to the country’s medical system.
“We have concerns about the safety and efficacy of this technology in terms the use of the device in other places and also its potential impact on the Australian Medical Practitioner Code of Practice,” he said.
He said that his organisation was not opposed to the technology but was concerned about its potential for misuse.
“Some of the technology is potentially harmful, but we would urge caution with any technology that we consider potentially harmful,” he told AAP.
Dr Beddons comments come as some doctors are preparing to make the switch to using the new, cheaper device in a bid to reduce their hospital bill.
In November, the Medical Research Council (MRC) published a report which warned that the introduction of the new medical devices could reduce the supply of surgeons.
The MRC’s Dr Richard Ritchie said that patients were not happy with the prospect of spending more money on surgery in Australia.
“What we have been hearing from doctors is that they are not sure what they are going to do with all the extra money that’s going to be spent in the next few years,” he explained.
“And so it’s going into the pockets of hospitals and not into the hands of patients.”
Dr Ritchie added that he did not believe the technology would have any significant impact on patient outcomes, because of the inherent differences between the types of surgeries that could be performed.
He also said that in Australia, there was not a lot that doctors could do about the technology’s potential impact.
“That technology will never be used for a major surgery,” he argued.
The Australian College of Surgeons is expected to make a recommendation on the approval of new medical device approvals in early 2019.