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Is the NHS worth defending?

10th December 2017 · 11:00am - 12:30pm

In person | Virtual event

 Is the NHS worth defending?

The NHS is a unique and a revered institution. Complete freedom for anyone to access. No upfront or usage charges. All thanks to the taxpayer.

However, the quality of NHS healthcare measured in terms of outcomes, waiting times, A&E response times, regional variations, overall experience is decidedly middling. Sometimes we even wallow near the bottom of OECD league tables for some critical conditions (eg heart attacks, cancer). But then, most developed countries spend more than we do.

And here is the rub. While there is ample room for improvements in productivity and management in the NHS, inadequate funding is the major cause for concern. Politicians are reluctant to raise taxes. This situation is made much worse by increasing expectations and costs as new drugs and medical technology come on stream pushing up longevity, and paradoxically, leading to even greater funding needs.

Here is the BIG question: Is our NHS sustainable? The recent House of Lords report concludes that without major revisions, it most certainly is not.

Dr Henry Marsh, renowned for his outstanding contributions as a leading neurosurgeon and also for his bold and highly regarded commentaries and writings on the NHS will address this critical question head-on, providing insights into the future for our health service.

Henry Marsh read PPE at Oxford and Medicine in London and then trained as a neurosurgeon. His work has been the subject of two major BBC documentaries – “Your Life in their Hands” in 2003 and “The English Surgeon” in 2009 which won an Emmy and was described in the New York Times as “Enthralling, astonishing….agonizingly human”.

His book Do No Harm, published in 2014, became an international best seller and has been translated into 30 languages. “Neurosurgery has found its Boswell” ( Ian McEwen). “When a book starts like this – ‘ I often have to cut into the brain and it is something I hate doing’ – you have to go on reading…” (Karl Ove Knausgaard). The book won both the Sky Arts South Bank Show 2015 Award for Literature and the PEN Ackerley Prize. In 2017 he published a second book Admissions, which became a Number 1 Sunday Times best seller and received reviews as enthusiastic as for his first book. Although retired from full-time work in the NHS he continues to work in diverse countries such as Ukraine, Nepal, and Albania. He is a passionate defender of the NHS.

In October 2017 he was awarded the Times‘ William Howard Russell Award for non-fiction.

He was made a CBE by HM the Queen in 2010.

Doors 10.30am. Start 11am.

Copies of Henry’s book will be on sale by our event partners; Newham Bookshop. They accept cash and cards.

Entry £3, £2 concessions, (free to Conway Hall Ethical Society members, who are encouraged to book these tickets in advance via the Book Now button)

Event is subject to capacity, without exceptions. Space will be reserved for ticket holders.

Brockway Room (Ground floor – accessible. Induction loop audio).

Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.

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