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In December 2018, Mark Drakeford became the new First Minister of Wales. In this podcast, he talks to Professor Sir Mansel Aylward about his agenda to inject innovation into the Welsh economy and embrace artificial intelligence: “If we deploy artificial intelligence in the way that we would want to deploy it, it will be a liberating experience. It will free people up to do many other jobs that only human beings can do. And, if we find the right way of doing this, we will find that artificial intelligence is another one of those big steps forward in creating this sort of society we want to do”. 

Professor Drakeford left academia for a career in politics, rising through the ranks of the Labour Party to rise to Welsh Government cabinet as Minister for Health and Social Services and Finance Minister. 

He talks about his pride at what he and his colleagues have achieved for health patients in Wales, including faster access to treatments and the introduction of an organ donation register: “Genuinely groundbreaking legislation. A regime which has saved lives, directly saved lives in Wales. We now know that the other parts of the United Kingdom are following on from what we have done.”  

Mark Drakeford talks about the importance of innovation within health provision as important to help fight inequality: “We know that there are people who fail to get their needs attended to who don't speak up on their own behalf, whereas other people who are more resourced, better informed, somehow better equipped they get in early they get the treatment that they need.

“Where we can use innovation to erode those inequalities - then that innovation will have offered us not just a way of improving healthcare but it will have helped us on the journey to a more equal Wales.”

Chair of Life Sciences Hub Wales, Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, presents this episode of Healthy Thinking.

Syniadau Iach
In our Welsh language sister podcast, Syniadau Iach, Deputy Director of the Bevan Commission, Sion Charles, and health tech entrepreneur, Elin Haf Davies, join presenter Rhodri Griffiths to discuss the First Minister’s priorities in health and innovation.