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Prince Philip’s lasting health tech legacy

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The Duke has taken a keen interest in technology and engineering while serving as a royal

Throughout his 99-year life, the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in almost 1,000 charities as either a president, patron or an honorary member.

And, much of his work was dedicated to helping advance technology in all fields, with UK healthcare being a huge benefactor of this. Here, we take a closer look at his influence in healthcare and technology. 

Royal Academy of Engineering

Prince Philip was a long-standing advocate for a strong engineering sector – an interest which blossomed from his days as a naval officer during and after WWII.

“Everything that wasn’t invented by God is invented by an engineer,” he said in an interview with the BBC in 2016, highlighting his passion.

To complement this, he supported the founding of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1976.

Since then the group helped to develop a range of initiatives which have accelerated technology in healthcare, with the Duke acting as a senior fellow.

As recently as 2019, the group committed itself to developing new AI technology to aid the discovery of new drugs, particularly those aimed at helping cancer patients.

Such was his influence within the organisation, that after renovation work 2012, its premises in London was renamed Prince Philip House.

The Prince Philip Designers Prize

Further showing the Duke’s commitment to supporting the progression of technology is the prize he founded in 1959.

The Prince Philip Designers Prize celebrated British designers and engineers who created tools that could be used to benefit everyday life.

Each year’s winner would be allowed to turn their ideas into commercial assets, with later awards turning a focus to the designers themselves rather than specific products.

A number of the award’s winners have seen their products benefit the health technology industry.

Among them is Dr John McArthur, whose microscope for the Open University claimed the 1972 award.

Prince Philip Trust Fund

Focusing on supporting people and projects in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, this scheme has distributed over £2m in grants to around 1,600 different projects.

It has been helping people access better health technology since its establishment in 1977.

Thames Hospice received £16,000 through the project in a range of grants to support patients and their families. It received £5,000 from Prince Philip Trust Fund to allow them to install a mobile lifting chair and develop better bereavement tools.

Also benefitting from the fund was Young Rett’s Syndrome patient Selena Campobello. Young Rett’s is a condition which causes the loss of muscle control, eventually leading to the eyes being the only active muscles.

The £5,000 grant allowed her to gain access to a Tobii eye gaze computer, which now allows her to communicate with her family.

British Heart Foundation 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s support also helped to establish the UK’s leading heart condition charity.

As a patron since the 1960, his work supported The British Heart Foundation (BHF) in engaging in research to develop life-changing treatments and technologies.

His actions helped the group to become the largest single funder of cardiovascular research in the UK, allowing multiple breakthroughs.

Prince Philip also opened BHF’s medical scanning centre at the University of Edinburgh, which has received over £3m in investment to further research heart disease.

Muscular Dystrophy UK

Prince Philip’s support has helped Muscular Dystrophy UK to advance technology in healthcare.

The group works for the 70,000 people in the UK living with a muscular-wasting condition and the Duke has been a patron since 1966.

Its work has seen over £55m invested into finding a cure and developing treatments for these diseases.

The charity’s Joseph Patrick Trust (JPT) distributes grants to those affected, helping them to access the latest technology to allow them to live an independent life.

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  1. Pingback: New staff reflective gardens and free media services for patients at UHNM - Health Tech World

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