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Orthoplastics

Imagine a bag of powder, Imagine you needing a new hip so how can they be connect?

Find out by joining us for our meeting on 11th September 2014 at Mears Shropshire Home Services Unit 3, Hartley Business Centre Monkmoor Road Shrewsbury SY2 5ST 10.30 am refreshments for 11 am start. 

So lets go back to imagining a bag of powder, may be flour, chalk, milk, no this is plastic that is for a very special purpose! Many of us know the pain of a worn hip, a damaged knee or shoulder & have heard or expect to hear the consultant say “You need a hip/knee replacement” These words may be “music to our ears” but they can also bring all kinds of thoughts & questions but ultimately we have to put our trust in the surgeon to get it right!

So is it a case of “one size fits all?” Most of us will have no idea or thoughts on the process involved in making that special joint that will release us of pain, hopefully making us more mobile and enabling us to do things that we have had to put on the “back burner” for a while. So is it just a case of the surgeon taking out our hip & slotting in a piece of metal that looks rather like a tent peg-NO an amazing amount of work goes into providing our medical profession with suitable products in the hopes of giving us a new lease of life that will last for a good number of years. 

Last year I was given the opportunity to have a tour of Orthoplastics Limited which is based in Bacup Lancashire. This is one of only three companies in the UK that make specialised products for the medical industry. They started out as a company that made industrial plastic products but a few years ago changed to making products exclusively for the medical profession. They are now a key member of “Orthoproducts” specialising in the orthopaedic industry and now making custom bespoke ortho-inplants. They research bespoke products for the customer and are involved in a huge amount of pioneering work enabling orthopaedics to move forward. All their work brings them in contact with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals & people within the medical profession. It is very unusual for Orthoplastics to speak to the “User” so lets making this meeting next week very special. 

I was very surprised by the process that is undertaken to make orthopaedic products. Never did I think a bag of plastic powder, could become a sheet of plastic & finally be made into a joint used in the human body. This is such specialised work that every joint made is traceable back to the bag of powder it originated from. We think of auditing in relation to accountancy but with companies like Orthoplastics, everything has an audit trail as it is highly skilled work of an extremely important nature. I was fortunate to see a knee being made. All of us have different bone structures so how does the surgeon know the joint produced is going to be the right size for the patient? What about health & safety-contamination? During my tour, I saw a lot of expensive equipment used in the process of making joints but much intricate work is carried out by people looking at the “end product”  I saw a room where employees sit and check each joint under a microscope for the slightest splinter of plastic. Sometimes these can be carefully removed with a special knife others have to be deemed as “seconds” meaning it is rejected & unsuitable for use. 

Come along on Thursday 11th September & give Mark Allan (who originally came from Shrewsbury), Technical Director of Orthoplastics a warm welcome back to his home town. We are assured of a very informative talk by Mark. 

Our other guest speaker is Rachel Harding who is Project Co Ordinator of “Me & You”  a lottery funded project at Albrighton Trust for disabled and special needs young people during their transition years. Albrighton Trust is a Charity that provides educational, recreational and leisure facilities for mentally, physically and sensory disabled users. 

We always try to bring you inspiring speakers on a range of topics. Shropshire Disability Network are pleased to say that we have very good speakers giving up their time for us. For more information about this meeting look under the “About Us” tab or the events tab (11th September) on this website www.shropshire-disability.net Guests are always welcome to our meetings. Why not let Russell our Secretary know you are coming to this meeting by calling 07794 497 704 or emailing [email protected]et

Ruby Hartshorn

Deputy Chairperson

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