“We can solve this problem, because we’re human”

This afternoon at the Hay Festival, global healthcare leader Mark Britnell spoke on the premise behind his new book, Human: Solving the Global Workforce Crisis in Healthcare.

“The greatest obstacle is not so much money, but human beings,” he said. The academic spoke about his experience surviving prostate cancer, and working as a global health expert in 79 countries, where he realised the workforce problem in health needed fixing.

He argued there is no such thing as “the perfect healthcare system”, and every country has something to learn. We are in danger of not having enough people to solve our health issues, he argued, and if we don’t act now, “one in six nursing posts will be vacant by the middle of the next decade”.

Britnell proposed ten changes for tackling the crisis, including productivity increase and new models of care. He argued that healthcare is “a wonderful sector to be productive”, and by working together on an international level, we can liberate health professionals and become better equipped ourselves.

“Robots will not take our jobs away, they will take tasks away,” he said, as he introduced the idea that artificial intelligence in health shouldn’t be a worrisome thing.

“I believe the shortage of healthcare staff is the number one concern for health globally.”

If you’re interested in science please also see Event 346 at 5.30pm on Saturday 1 June. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.

 Picture by Iga Koncka