Main content

We can look forward to a healthier future

Fi Glover pits optimists against pessimists in a debate on the future of health. Are we heading towards a golden age of medicine, or is public health a ticking time bomb?

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.

Available now

43 minutes