In 2011 I presented at the Brighton Science Festival. A fellow presenter was Professor Klim McPherson – an esteemed epidemiologist. Professor McPherson was asked a question about the future of the UK National Health Service (NHS) and he answered that he thought Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) would ‘break’ the NHS by 2020. How prophetic his reply is proving to be. With three years to go, the NHS is currently showing signs of breaking point. T2D alone may not be responsible, but it could well be the avoidable burden that has just tipped the balance from manageable to unmanageable. This week I did a radio interview for BBC Cymru (the Welsh speaking BBC Wales). This year, BBC Cymru is celebrating 40 years since it was formed in 1977. As part of the celebrations, they are looking at what the future might hold for major Welsh institutions and issues for the next 40 years. They wanted to talk to me (in English!) about what the future might be for the NHS and health generally in Wales... Even though this is a Welsh/UK story, it has global applicability and interest. What were the principles underpinning the first National Health Service? What are the challenges facing free health services in our increasingly sick societies? Can the laudable aims of one Welsh man – Aneurin Bevan – in setting up a national health system, prevail for much longer?
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