Event: The Future of People Powered Health

| Greg Watson

This week the Ideas Hub team attended Nesta Health Lab’s The Future of People Powered Health event in London, in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, which supports new ideas in health in Lambeth and Southwark.

The conference explored the idea of the ‘end of patients’, with plenty of speakers who had pioneered change in their local areas and improved the health and wellbeing of their communities.

The event was divided between keynote speeches from thought leaders such as Sharon Terry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Genetic Alliance and Dr Sally Witcher OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Inclusion Scotland; guest speakers showcasing real examples of local change including Alex Smith of North London Cares and breakout sessions designed to provoke discussion around key challenges.

The breakout session I attended – titled ‘People Powered Change: how do you make it stick?’ – produced a lot of great insights. One in particular was one participant’s observation that health needs to look at the craft beer phenomenon: nobody spent millions of pounds or lobbied big business to favour production of craft beer – individual groups of people simply got on with making a beer that worked for them and customers have voted with their wallets, to the extent that craft beer has totally transformed the market place. If solutions to health operated in the same way, we’d have a network of highly localised, personalised initiatives.

At several points throughout the day I heard people commenting that in the not-too-distant future, when all healthcare and public services are people powered, we will look back and wonder how we ever did things differently. Nesta’s event was a fantastic opportunity for attendees to share ideas about what might work for them in a supportive and optimistic atmosphere.

Although, as one poll beamed up onto the screens showed, the majority of attendees felt that whilst good work had been done towards empowering people to take control of decisions concerning their health there is still a long way to go, I came away with the distinct feeling that the tide is turning. The future is people powered.

You can watch a stream of the event here:

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