Are you an optimist or a pessimist on our health service?

Try listening to Fi Glover who chairs an interesting series of debates on Radio 4, starting this week and continuing. NHSreality is a pessimist for equality of access, and speed of access to healthcare, but an optimist for life expectancy averages in the normal BMI population.

BBC iPlayer is scheduling “Glass Half Full” from this last week onwards.. The first episode lasted 43 minutes..

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We can look forward to a healthier future

Are we heading towards a golden age of medicine, or is public health a ticking time bomb?

In a debate recorded in front of an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Fi Glover examines the thoughts of both pessimists and optimists. She asks not only what they think about the future of health, but also how their views are informed by their contrasting mindsets. Where does their optimism or pessimism come from?

We are all healthier and living longer and new technology will empower us and bring about a new healthcare revolution. So claims optimist Professor Tony Young, a practising surgeon who leads innovation for NHS England.

Pessimist Dr Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, counters that sedentary lifestyles, poor diets and over-medication are damaging our health. Obesity and dementia are soaring and caring for these patients may be beyond our capabilities.

Three expert witnesses are called to give evidence – Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard (Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners), Professor Kevin Fenton (Public Health England National Director for Health and Wellbeing), and Vivienne Parry (broadcaster and Head of Engagement at Genomics England).

The pessimist and the optimist cross-examine the witnesses and, to conclude, the audience votes. Is the glass half empty or half full?

A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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