Integrity in Health Care: Changing Roles and Relationships


Held at Woodbrooke Conference Centre, Birmingham on the 17th and 18th of September 2009, the third event organised by the network was a small (60 person), participative, interdisciplinary conference for users, professionals and academics.

It explored the changing nature of roles and relationships in the NHS and their implications, focussing on the implications of change for the integrity and identity of individuals, professions and organisations.

• Does integrity mean anything in the contemporary NHS?
• Is the nature of integrity, individual and corporate, changing?
• How can integrity be exemplified and encouraged by policy makers, professionals and users?
• What are the overt/covert forces affecting personal, moral and organisational integrity?
• How can professionals and service users work together with integrity and trust in the future?
• What expectations should professionals have of themselves, other professionals, their organisations and service users?
• What might fostering integrity mean for organisational structures and processes?

Alongside plenary presentations, there were structured, small group discussions around themes. Short contributions were also made by practitioners and users to ensure discussion is earthed in the everyday life of the NHS.

A final plenary drew together the issues discussed, with a panel of leaders from academic disciplines and health care professions.

Themes from the conference were developed further in a follow-up event in January 2010; click here for a report on that event by former chair of the network, Stephen Pattison.

The plenary speakers were:

Brian Hurwitz, a GP and Professor of Medicine and the Arts at King’s College London whose research encompasses clinical medicine and narrative studies in relation to medical practice, ethics, law and case reports. He collaborates with visual and literary artists, co-convenes the UK’s first master’s Literature and Medicine programme, and directs the Centre for the Humanities and Health at King’s.

Alan Cribb, Professor of Bioethics and Education at King’s College London and director of research at the Centre for Public Policy Research there. His research relates to applied philosophy and to health and social policy. He has a particular interest in developing interdisciplinary scholarship that links philosophical, social science and professional concerns, pursued through writing about health care ethics, health promotion and the sociology of education.

Other contributors and panellists included:

J Calinas – GP, Nottinghamshire

Andrew Edgar – senior lecturer in philosophy at Cardiff University and editor of Health Care Analysis

Valerie Iles – training consultant and co-director of the RCGP Leadership Programme

Mairi Levitt – head of the department of philosophy at Lancaster University with research interests in empirical bioethics and public understandings of science

Sheelagh McGuinness – lecturer in ethics and law at Keele University

Julia McKeown – NHS manager for 20 years, director of management company working with the NHS and Local Authorities.

Stephen Pattison – professor of religion, ethics and practice at Birmingham University, co-editor of Values in Professional Practice and Changing Values, Changing Roles, Changing Health Care (forthcoming)

Kieran Sweeney - GP, medical educator, and co-Director of RCGP Leadership Programme