Hay Festival Debate to Explore Future of NHS

Back to news listings

In a time of turmoil for the NHS, is there another way to deliver healthcare in the UK? That will be the subject of a fascinating debate at this year’s Hay Festival.

A panel of distinguished health professionals will explore a vision for our healthcare system, and whether we should we go back to traditional roles, or innovate with new professions, like Physician Associates.

They will discuss ways of dealing with an ever growing population and contemplate a new way forward.
The panel debate is sponsored by the University of Worcester and takes place on Sunday, June 4 at 5.30pm. The Hay Festival, which is celebrating its 30th year, is widely regarded as one of the world’s top literary festivals, attracting over 250,000 visitors to the small town of Hay-on-Wye.

The panel will be made up of Baroness Hollins, former president of the BMA and Emeritus Professor in Psychiatry of Disability at St George’s; Professor Veronica Wilkie, GP and Professor of Primary Care at the University of Worcester, Dr Steven Thrush, a Consultant at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, and Charlotte Scott Taylor, a Physician Associate graduate from the University of Worcester. It will be Chaired by Jane Perry, Associate Head of the University’s Institute of Health and Society.

Professor Wilkie said: “The demographics of our population is changing; people are living longer, and living longer with medical conditions that would historically have caused death or disability. In addition, there have been significant scientific advances in healthcare, leading to more cures in earlier life which change the pattern of how people age.

“This means that traditional workforce models that have only slowly been evolving since the NHS started will have to change to rise to meet the challenges of 21st century health care.”

Jane Perry added: “The University has worked in collaboration with practice partners to pioneer new roles that aim to support effective and efficient new ways of working in health and social care, such as the Physician Associate. These newly developed Masters programmes develop a new type of highly skilled 'practitioner' who can support the medical professions and ease the demand for services, allowing doctors to look after more complex patients.”

The debate is part of a series of events being sponsored by the University of Worcester at this year’s Festival. Other talks in the series include:

? Monday, May 29 at 7pm - ‘Using the creative arts to help people with dementia to live well’. Dr Claire Garabedian, a trained music practitioner as well as a researcher within the Association of Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester, and Laurence Gardiner, an expert with first-hand experience in living with dementia, will explore ways in which simple use of creative arts approaches can help people and their families to live well with dementia.

? Tuesday, May 30 at 11.30am – Enemies of the People: The role of the judiciary in a democracy. Featuring former West Mercia Police Chief Constable, David Shaw, retired Hereford judge HH Toby Hooper QC, and legal experts from the University of Worcester’s School of Law, and Kingston School of Law, the event will consider the constitutional role of the courts in maintaining a proper balance of power in a modern democracy, following the recent judicial decision on the procedure by which the UK can trigger Brexit.

? Wednesday, May 31, at 5.30pm – ‘Is teaching still a valued profession?’ A panel discussion around the value of the teaching profession, in light of recent surveys which showed that 73% of new teachers have considered leaving the profession. The panel will feature Professor David Green, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Worcester, Jonathan Godfrey, Principal of Hereford Sixth Form College, Sue Gaston, Headteacher of Fairfield High School in Peterchurch, and Taylor Cornes, a University of Worcester Teaching Graduate, and will be Chaired by Ed Dorrell, Head of Content at Times Educational Supplement.
For tickets to any of the events please visit the Hay Festival website at