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Festival of Health round-up

19 November 2014

Bristol's first Festival of Health opened up key debates about how our local health and care system is changing, and explored the big issues facing the NHS and health. This was the first event of its kind in Bristol, and it brought together influential leaders in the city region's health and care system and prominent figures from further afield. The event was organised by Bristol Health Partners and the Festival of Ideas and took place on 10-11 October at the Watershed in Bristol.

The festival was an opportunity for Bristol Health Partners to share some of the work going on across the partnership with a wider audience, while increasing public knowledge on local and national health matters and stimulating informed debate.

This short video explains why Bristol Health Partners ran the event.

The mental health panel at the Festival of Health 2014Who spoke and what did they say?

Speakers were a diverse mix of influential leaders in the city region's health and care system, and prominent figures from further afield, including:

  • Dr Neil Bacon, Founder of
  • Dr Sohail Bhatti, Joint Director of Public Health, Bristol City Council
  • Dr Jon Bloor, Founder and Meical Director, DocCom
  • George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol and co-chair of Bristol Health & Wellbeing Board
  • Matthew Hill, BBC Points West Health Correspondent
  • Dr Martin Jones, Clinical Chair of Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Sir Ron Kerr, Chief Executive of Guy's and St Thomas's NHS Foundation Trust
  • Professor Mike Richards CBE, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Care Quality Commission
  • Andrea Young, Chief Executive of North Bristol Trust
  • Liz Zeidler, Co-founder and Director of Happy City and Chair of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership

For the complete list of speakers, see the full Festival of Health programme.

George Ferguson at the 2014 Festival of Health

Panels were focused on six key questions (links are to YouTube playlists for each session):

All the talks from the event are also available as a single playlist on the Bristol Health Partners YouTube channel.

Who attended and what did they think?

Nearly 450 people came to the Festival of Health over the weekend, including members of the public, patients, carers, health professionals, community leaders and academics. Feedback from the event was very positive, with 83 per cent enjoying the event, and 90 per cent saying they would attend something similar in the future. Find out what people have been saying about the Festival of Health on Twitter: #FestivalofHealth.

What next for the Festival of Health?

David Relph at the 2014 Festival of Health

David Relph, Director of Bristol Health Partners said: "Any new venture can be a bit challenging and this was no exception. But the whole event went well: every one of the six sessions was interesting and challenging with great speakers, excellent chairmanship and really genuine participation by the public. We have yet to work out what comes next, but it's obvious there's a considerable appetite out there to engage with some of these issues and contribute ideas, so I anticipate that this event will be the first of a series.

"The voice of the public who attended the festival was what has excited me most and I plan to focus on how we can take the work of Bristol Health Partners out into Bristol and the surrounding areas - and connect with the public in a more ambitious way than we have up to now. The discussion about health and care across our region is not simply a professional, expert one - people across the region need to be genuinely involved. It's their health system, after all."

Festival of Health round-up
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