Challenges to the NHS

NHS_DavidGFriday 24 Oct, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Discussion to be introduced by David Girdler.

The NHS may have been rated the best in the world [1], but it faces major challenges. These have not been helped by recent top-down reorganisation, which the Tories now admit was “their worst mistake”. [2]

Some of the increased use of commercial services and privatisation has turned out badly, but are they always a bad thing?

The challenges remain:
What is to be done about patient waiting times? Mental health services? Care of the elderly? Recruitment of staff at all levels? Care after hospital discharge? Illness screening? Healthy living? The application of new materials and new surgical methods?

David will base his introduction on:
Christine Montross -/Failing into the Fire – Encounters with the mind
crisis /
Micheal J. Sandel – /What money can’t buy – the moral limits of markets/
Roger Taylor – /God bless the NHS – The Truth behind the current crisis/

Too many to list.
But, see the /Times /October 13th 2014.
/Private Eye /is useful to understand how NHS policies actually work.

EPPM – /Revoltions in surgery and new materials /- September 2014
TCT – /Changing the game in healthcare/ – September 2014
Engineering materials -/3D printing of biological organs/ – Autumn 2014.

[1] The Guardian: NHS comes top in health care survey

A survey produced by the Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation which is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems,  finds the NHS the best in the world.

[2] International Business Times: Tories admit NHS reforms were ‘huge
error’ which David Cameron didn’t even understand

The Times: NHS reforms our worst mistake, Tories admit

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Engaging with Young Voters

The Leicester Unlock Democracy group invite you to the next “Democracy Drinks” to be held on Monday October 27th at the Ale Wagon pub, Charles St., Leicester, at 7.30 pm.

The speaker is Heather Worman, Labour County Councillor for the Ibstock and Appleby division.

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Prioritising the teaching of science and maths and making it inspiring

Girl writing equations on a chalkboardFriday 10 Oct, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Friday Room regular and lifelong teacher Geoff Gay will be presenting this topic:

When I was at school back in 1960, at the tender age of 12/13 we had to choose between two pathways: “Science” or “Arts” (echos of CP Snow – Two Cultures!). From the age of about 10, I was very interested in science (especially astronomy) so that was naturally my choice. BUT my enthusiasm was soon dimmed by some very uninspiring science teaching: when I asked questions, I usually got the answer “Just learn it to get a good grade in the exam”.

I understand that science teaching has not got much better in the ensuing 50-plus years, with the result that most people in our society do not understand either scientific method or the key science concepts. To take one example, lots of people are not aware of the time and distance scales of our universe. Understanding science is one of the keys to understanding the world and the universe, and, without that understanding, it is difficult to contribute to change. What can be done about this?

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Friday Room Special: A Conversation with Ruth Lister

RuthListerFriday 26 Sept, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

We need to create a culture that combines a sense of belonging with openness to new ideas. To get away from the idea that we are individuals to be consulted and not just consumers or components of some machine. Politics needs to be based on dialogue rather than Party bigwigs telling us what is best for us.

The starting point will be the idea of the Open Tribe which was developed in a series of interviews with politically active people and refined into a book by Sue Goss. It is to do with reconciling the supportive but restrictive nature of belonging to a specific group or tribe and the openness to novelty but risk of isolation that comes from not belonging.

Ruth’s Profile

From 1971 to 1987 I worked for the Child Poverty Action Group, the last 8 years as director.  I joined the Department of Social Sciences after 6 years as Professor and Head of Department of Applied Social Studies, Bradford University.  Between 2005 and 2007 I spent some time at the University of Glasgow as the first Donald Dewar Visiting Professor of Social Justice.  I retired in October 2010 and joined the House of Lords as a Labour peer in February 2011.  I was elected hon president of CPAG in December 2010.  I currently sit on the Joint Committee of Human Rights, the board of the Smith Institute and am vice-chair of the Fair Pay Network and a patron of JustFair.  In the past I have sat on a number of independent commissions, the National Equality Panel and the Community Development Foundation, as well as numerous other voluntary organisation and research advisory committees.  In 2010 I received a life-time achievement from the Social Policy Association.  In 2005 I was co-recipient of the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education awarded to the university for its contribution to social policy.

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Change of Venue for Friday’s meeting

Matt Sissons meeting will now be in the Yeoman room in the Brush Sports and Social Club in Fennel street, next door but one from Unity House.



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Growth and the efficiency question


Friday 12 Sept, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

Note: Change of venue to Brush Sports and Social Club

Discussion to be introduced by Matt Sisson, author of  The Astronaut, the Cake, and Tomorrow and the Green Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough.

The world faces an unprecedented environmental crisis. We are overwhelming the capacity of our planet to support life. Yet we still measure our success by economic  growth; by how much we can increase the size of our footprint and the weight with which we tread.

So how can we live sustainably? Matt Sisson argues that the scale of the challenge requires wholesale changes to our economic and financial systems. If we are to all flourish within the sustainable limits of the Earth, we must challenge the perceived wisdoms of our age – from growth to efficiency, and from austerity to the  free market.

Looking at one of these  wisdoms, the national and global pursuit of efficiency, the session will consider whether we still need efficiency, whether it‘s counter-productive to efforts to live sustainably, and what the alternatives might look like.


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Scotland Independence debates

Should Scotland be independent?

Leicester Secular Society,

Sunday 7th September, 6.30pm, Secular Hall

‘Yes’ and ‘No’ supporters argue it out. Audience members will participate and a (non-Binding!) vote will be taken.

After the Scottish Referendum: what now for the UK?

Leicester Unlock Democracy

Monday 22 Sept, 7,30pm The Ale Wagon, Rutland Street, Leicester

The result of the Scottish referendum is binding, so that if Scotland votes Yes for independence, they will become independent some time in 2016: “Devo Max” is not an option in the referendum, but if the vote is No, this would still be an option to be considered, especially as all three of the major parliamentary parties are committed to extending Scottish devolution. But, whatever the result in Scotland, where does that leave the rest of the UK?

Related to the so-called “West Lothian Question”, England has a democratic deficit: Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have measures of devolution but the English regions do not. Should the UK have a federal system, with a measure of devolution to the English regions? Would Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly constitute a separate region, or would they be included in a South-West region? How would the regional boundaries be decided?

To be introduced by Dr Ray Sutton

After the Referendum

Loughborough Left Unity

Thursday 25th Sept, 8.00pm, John Storer House

No official title yet, but we will be looking mainly at Devolution for England in the light of the result of the Scottish Referendum.

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