An exciting health conference is coming to Sheffield on May 19 and 20

Dr David Unwin with local patient Frank FrostDr David Unwin with local patient Frank Frost
Dr David Unwin with local patient Frank Frost
When I was growing up Bryan Robson was my idol. I know that dates me, but he was that get-stuck-in, courageous, style footballer i wanted to be. I used to dribble the ball around the garden and imagine I was Robbo scoring the winner at Wembley. Although I tried hard, by the age of about 10 I realised playing for Man United wasn’t a realistic career option for me. I tuned into medicine instead.

The long path to being a doctor involves studying the medical model. The science of the body, how diseases manifest, and treating them with drugs or medical interventions mostly. I thought it was worth the effort, becoming a champion of health! 25 years later I've realised the limits of the medical model. It’s great to a point, but it has limits. In a way we’d all love the solution to great health to be as simple as a few tests, and a pill or two to put in our mouths. But nature is way more sophisticated, we are all very individual and adapt in unique ways. Some people are rethinking and challenging our rmore traditional approaches to medicine. They have been prepared to stick their heads up early, swim against the tide and challenge popular beliefs. I see them as the ‘Robbo’s of medicine’, battling against the odds, trying to achieve something special. So it was with Dr David Unwin. I first met him at a GP event 8 years ago.He told me some of his patients who were living with type 2 diabetes had started to tell him about new approaches they’d been trying themselves. They were going against the current diet advice, eating more healthy fat, and much less carbohydrates, basically ‘real food’. Instead of trying to defend the current medical approach he started to listen and learn. He has now shown through careful study that its possible to completely reverse type 2 diabetes, and many similar diseases. He does it by returning to basics about diet and lifestyle and offering careful support in a very personal and individual way We call it remission because there’s always a risk of relapse, but It’s a possibility the medical model had abandoned long ago. In 2016, along with many other pioneers in this space, Dr David Unwin helped set up a group called Public Health Collaboration. Its a rapidly growing collection of clinicians who are prepared to reconsider the medical model. Not to neglect the benefits, but to keep it in the right perspective alongside other ways of helping us achieve great health and wellness. This group are having their annual conference in Sheffield, May 19th and 20th. It’s aimed at anyone interested in exploring a reappraisal of how doctors, the NHS and patients work together. The lineup features some of the world's most prominent advocates and leaders of this approach. A few years back I was at a wedding in the North East. My wife and I retired around 1am, danced out. A few folk went to the hotel bar to continue, and they connected with the final few revellers from the other wedding in the hotel. Bryan Robson was amongst them. I’d missed my chance to have a beer and a chat. I was gutted! I’m not making the same mistake again, I’ll be joining this conference in May and chatting to as many of the pioneers of future healthcare as I can. David and his fellow presenters offer a more hopeful and collaborative approach to health and wellbeing, and that excites me.