The Health Foundation: Curious about health? Listen to our new podcast series

The Health Foundation


What should the government be doing to tackle obesity, and what’s the secret to being a Health Secretary? This and more on the new Health Foundation podcast series, which promises to delve into the most important issues affecting the future of health and care for people in the UK.

Hosted by Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation, the series brings together leading minds in health and care and high-profile names from politics and the media. Every month, we take a 30-minute deep-dive into a unique angle on the most topical issues impacting our health now and in the future.

If you’re curious about the NHS, health science, policy, health care and spending, listen and subscribe to the Health Foundation podcast. Every episode can be streamed or downloaded through your choice of the most popular platforms. You can also subscribe to the Health Foundation podcast on your preferred platform to receive future episodes when they’re released each month.

Episode 1 – How to be Health Secretary

In October’s inaugural episode, Jennifer asked Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP for his view on the role of the health secretary and its relation to the management of the NHS. Joining the conversation was award-winning author Nicholas Timmins, who wrote the latest edition of the Health Foundation’s Glaziers & Window breakers, a book that includes interviews with 11 former health secretaries together with original analysis.

Jennifer, Jeremy and Nicholas looked back at the major themes of Hunt’s time in office as the longest-serving Health Secretary, such as patient safety and how far he sought to ‘ignore’ the reforms of his predecessor. But the conversation also looked forward. With the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic holding the world’s attention, what would Hunt have done differently? And what are the key lessons for government as we enter a new phase of the pandemic? This episode is available to stream and download below now.

Episode 2 – The government’s role in tackling obesity in the UK

This month, the Health Foundation podcast addresses obesity. Joining Jennifer for November’s podcast were:

  • Dame Sally Davies, now master of Trinity College Cambridge, stepped down just last year as chief medical officer for England and chief medical adviser to the UK government
  • Harry Rutter, professor of global public health at the University of Bath
  • James Forsyth, political editor at The Spectator, a regular on the Spectator’s daily podcast Coffee House Shots and weekly columnist for The Times

In a thought-provoking discussion, the panel discuss trends relating to obesity in the UK and what can and should be done. Prevalence of obesity is higher in more deprived communities, and obesity is linked to a range of health conditions, as well as increasing a person’s risk from Covid-19.

Evidence tells us that communities, government policies, commercial influences and many other factors shape our ability to be healthy – but people often think it’s up to individuals to manage their own weight. Some governments are also squeamish about intervention in people’s lives leading to a so-called ‘nanny state’.

However, recent polling by Ipsos MORI for the Health Foundation shows that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that people in the UK view the government’s role in improving our health. The pandemic has also moved tackling obesity higher up the government’s agenda. So what should the government be doing to tackle obesity? Listen below to find out.

Enjoyed these episodes?

You can stream or download the Health Foundation podcast through your choice of the most popular podcast platforms.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast to receive future episodes when they’re released. And if you enjoy the conversation, please share it with a colleague or peer, and leave a review.

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