Should Tesco run the National Health Service? This is the motion up for debate at this year’s PharmaTimes Great Oxford Debate, and the speakers for this prestigious event have now been finalised.

Proposing the motion will be: Roy Lilley, former Health Authority vice chair and NHS commentator, as well as independent health policy analyst, writer, broadcaster and commentator on health and social issues; Clive Humby, chairman and co-founder of dunnhumby, a leading international marketing company and the engine behind the Tesco loyalty card; and celebrity GP and comedian Dr Phil Hammond.

Trying to influence the ‘nos’ will be Professor Aidan Halligan, former Deputy Chief Medical Officer of England; Dr Philip Brown, previous owner-publisher of a stable of global pharma industry publications, including Scrip; and Mr Laurence Wood, Obstetric Lead Clinician, University Hospital, Coventry and Warwickshire.

The birth of a motion

So why should the NHS run Tesco? Well, one argument might be that by analysing 10 million shopping baskets daily, Tesco not only know seems to know more about its customers than the NHS but also uses this information to tailor and deliver better customer services. “The Government is clearly driving a wedge between the provision and the purchase of healthcare,” explains PharmaTimes’ Geoff Frew. “Some private firms already own GP practices and specialist clinics. Will the provision of healthcare be largely in the private sector in a few years time?”

On a lighter note, Dr Hammond adds: “I can’t wait to work for Tesco, in a little peaked cap, in-between the chunky chickens and the Mediterranean vegetables. ‘Hello, I’m Tesco’s Dr Phil, how may I heal you? We’ve got two smears for the price of one, until October 1 only, and there’s an all you can swallow vitamin bar next to the cut-price muffins’.” A taste of what's to come on the night..!

Both sides will battle it out in what promises to be a fun-packed debate on what is essentially a serious issue at the world-renowned Oxford Union on September 20, followed by a sumptuous, black-tie dinner in the Oxford University’s fabulous banqueting hall.

To be part of this event, click here or contact Jill Payne on 020 8487 9115 or