The month of June was an eventful one for the UK; where our sense of security came under question from terrorism and tragedies, to who we want to be as a nation through the choices we made at the ballot box. All the while, celebrations of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and World Pride have only shown the onus we all have to be true to ourselves and celebrate our identities. It is then no surprise that security, identity and choice are major themes in health and healthcare.
Where in 1934, hunger marches of unemployed men would descend upon parliament in their battle against malnutrition and their right to work, today, women march for the rights of abortion to be equal across the four nations. Patient records were once secured in a 5-by-7 inch Lloyd-George Envelope; today they’re computerised and vulnerable to attack. Health information was once restricted by the size of your wallet, today, free solutions on apps live in your pocket, advising on healthy living. In my previous role, I explored what the future of health would look like when the NHS turns 100 in 2048. Working with Future Agenda and discussing with a range of leaders in healthcare, we explored a range of issues including: Is the UK able to secure enough funds for public services with shifting demographics?Our ageing population will only shrink the tax base and therefore the amount we can afford to provide as a state. Does this make retirement altogether infeasible?
"Is the impending automation of work set to leave us empty handed, beyond just our earnings but how we spend our days?"
Is diverse opportunity restricted to urban life?Or is our choice of where we capitalise set to expand beyond city bounds to rural life? In an increasingly mobile society, where, as I write this blog, I do so remotely, is this the new normal across all industries? What are the consequences on healthcare delivery across vast rural parts of the UK?
Is our sense of identity and self worth altogether under threat given the rise of artificial intelligence?The Oxford Martin School exposed the probability of jobs being automatable, from office clerks to clergyman. Is the impending automation of work set to leave us empty handed, beyond just our earnings but how we spend our days? What are the physical and mental health consequences? Thinking ahead 83 years, to 2100, who knows where we may be. It's here our science-fiction writing prize, Writing the Future, hopes to explore how much or how little the world we know is set to change. In health care, there is a tendency to think only as far as five years, but real change will occur over our lifetimes.
Thinking futuristic, we look to science fiction, which has long provided creative insight into how future health care could look, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. It is in this creative vein we are looking for short stories of up to 3000 words to explore the UK’s health and healthcare in 2100, with 5 runner up prizes and a grand prize of £10,000.
Closing 8/8, we’re excited about fast forwarding 83 years and potentially uncovering how health as we know it is set to evolve.