BBC Radio 4’s long running “Any Questions?” which also celebrates its 60th Anniversary this year came to the AbrahamCowley Hall on the St. Peter’s Hospital campus on Friday 4th July the eve of the 60th Anniversary of the National Health Service.
The audience of over 200 people from across the catchment area for Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals and the AbrahamCowley Unit submitted their questions as they arrived at the hall. These were then reviewed by the Programme Producer and the Panel Chairman. Whilst this was happening Clive Thompson on behalf of Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals and Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust welcomed the audience to the St. Peter’s Hospital campus and the event. Ceri Thomas, a producer on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, then entertained the audience with anecdotes from previous editions of the programme and answered questions. Ten minutes before the show was due to go on air at 8:00p.m. Anne Peacock the Producer invited 10 people whose questions had been selected to come to the front of the audience.
Jonathan Dimbleby expertly chaired a panel of four well known commentators who were:
- Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP and Health Minister
- David Davis, the former Shadow Home Secretary
- Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat MP and spokesperson for Cabinet Office and Families
- Nigel Farage, MEP and leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
In his introduction Mr Dimbleby reminded the audience and the thousands of listeners that Abraham Cowley was a poet who was a contemporary of, and indeed more famous in his day than Milton. Cowley spent some years in the Chertsey area.
Graham Cawsey, Chairman of Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “The questions asked by the audience were topical and wide ranging. The panel had no idea what was going to be put to them next and the evening was both interesting and full of humour. The evening was a great success.”
The topics covered by the questions included :
- MPs expenses and the John Lewis list
- Knife crime
- Poly Clinics
- Should politics be taken out of the NHS
- If you were a Wimbledon Champion which one would you be?
Chairman of Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Trust Clive Thompson CBE comments: “Not only did the panel provide us with an interesting range of views but they all joined us for refreshments afterwards. The Education Centre at St. Peter’s was filled with conversation and laughter and was a great way to celebrate the eve of the birth of the NHS 60 years ago.”
The programme can be heard on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/news/anyquestions.shtml