What we know about what makes us work is a simultaneously priceless and patchy body of information. In a few areas we feel pretty confident that we know what’s what. But in most, despite centuries of investigation, we are at the foothills of understanding.
Luckily, scientists are essentially eager mountain-climbers. In the past two centuries we have made discoveries that have turned everything that went before on its head, and then discoveries that turned it upside down again. It has not been a smooth journey. But that innovation has always been at the heart of our health care system. And the politicians who care about the NHS, about our public health policies, try to embrace the future, too.
It’s not easy, working out what will revolutionise the health of the nation, and what will just turn out to be a dud. But when they get this right, the rewards can be enormous. Yes, it is daunting. But it is also one of the most exciting sectors of public policy around.