2020health at the Conservative Party Conference: EU, commercialising innovation, childhood obesity and Personal Health Records

We’re at the Conservative Party Conference all day today, Monday 30th September: the EU, commercialising innovation in the NHS and childhood obesity. We’re outside the secure zone so no Party Conference Pass is needed. Here’s an idea of what we’ll be talking about.

9.00am Does the EU benefit our health?

european-unionDo we really understand the role of the EU on health? When we talk about Europe we often talk about freedoms, migration, business and economics. We discuss leaving the EU, due to the impact of bureaucracy, migration issues and the economy; on the other hand we very rarely discuss the impact the EU has on health.

  • Do we really understand the impact of the EU on healthcare in this country and does it matter?
  • Are there dangers to healthcare and the healthcare industry in this country from leaving the EU or staying in?
  • What opportunities are there for the UK to learn from other countries health policies and systems and capitalise on our membership.

12.30pm Commercialising innovation in the NHS

innovationOur country’s economy health is often measured by the success of the services industry, manufacturing and the building sector yet a thriving healthcare industry is equally as important. The NHS alone employs 7% of the total UK workforce and in 2009 expenditure on healthcare made up 9.8% of the UK’s GDP.

Yet there remains a tension. The NHS is full of people with ideas, but there isn’t a culture of commercialising this potential. Industry knows the value of ideas, but is still regarded with suspicion and of course has its shareholders to satisfy. The two cultures can be seen as diametrically opposed but mutually dependent.

  • What more does the Government need to do to bring the innovation industry into the UK? How do we change preconceived beliefs on the role of industry and the private sector and its contribution to healthcare?
  • How do we encourage the NHS to develop a more commercial outlook in its own R&D and clinical activities?
  • Can we ever take away the fear of the private sector?

5.30pm Are we failing fat children?


In the past year, children’s diets and eating habits have rarely been out of the headlines. Some children are not being given breakfast at home and show a lack of concentration at school. At the same time, childhood obesity is on the increase.

  • Is obesity a result of our modern environment: “a normal reaction to an abnormal environment”?
  • Has society normalised its perception of what it means to be overweight?
  • Do we have the right balance between local and centralised government action with regards to obesity?
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