Leading UK Healthcare Figures Discuss Their Work With Senior Glyndwr Academic

Two leading figures in UK healthcare have spoken with a senior academic from Wrexham Glyndwr University about their work.

Dr Edna Astbury-Ward, a Senior Lecturer at the university, met with both Sir Robert Francis QC and Professor Andrew Goddard at the recent Royal College of Physicians annual conference, Edna interviewed both men about their vision for future healthcare and the impact of their work.

Sir Robert Francis QC – a barrister who specialises in medical law was appointed Chairman of the 2013 Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry. Dr Astbury-Ward said: “Sir Robert was presenting his vision for the NHS at 100 years old. We talked about that vision during his interview – he said we must remember the NHS is the most cherished part of our society, and that we must look at the magnificent achievements since its inception.

“As a senior academic in health, it was great to hear Sir Robert – and to hear his support for nursing in particular, as he has championed nurses for many years. He is very actively involved with current health issues as Chairman of Healthwatch Engand.

The interview has already gained a great deal of interest from Dr Astbury-Ward’s colleagues at Glyndwr – not only as Sir Robert is renowned as a leading figure in healthcare, but also as many of his findings as an Inquiry Chairman are now taught at Glyndwr.

Dr Astbury-Ward added: “The Mid Staffs report is the cornerstone of a lot of our teaching at Glyndwr – it runs across our undergraduate health programmes. There are 290 recommendations which Sir Robert made in that report, but the key principles he stressed are care, compassion and communication.

“Those principles form the base of not just our nursing degree, but also our health programmes, and we teach them to highlight to our students the importance of being morally and ethically robust in their work.

“Interviewing Sir Robert was one of the highlights of my 33 years in nursing. He has been as much of an influence on the modern face of nursing as Florence Nightingale was in her day.

“He was absolutely charming and kind – and a wonderful interviewee and good listener too.”

Following on from her interview with Sir Robert, Edna also interviewed Professor Andrew Goddard – who is the youngest President of the Royal College of Physicians in four centuries.

He spoke with Dr Astbury-Ward about his appointment, his plans for the coming months – and much more.

She said: “We talked about the plans he has for his Presidency, and he was very keen to stress the fact that his priorities were workforce issues and the wellbeing of staff.

“Interestingly, he also championed a new grade of healthcare professional called a Physician’s Assistant– this is a role which is neither doctor nor nurse, but will contribute to overall healthcare, Physician’s assistants usually have a background in biomedical sciences and is an exciting new venture.”


Founded in 2008, Wrexham Glyndwr University is a young, bold and vibrant university based in north-east Wales. The university has two campuses in Wrexham, Plas Coch and Regent Street plus campuses in Northop and St Asaph. In 2017 the university was awarded the silver award in the Teaching Excellence Framework for the quality of teaching.

The university is driving academic excellence through a wide range of innovative and industry-relevant courses, such as Applied Science, Computing, Engineering, Creative Arts, Criminology and Psychology. Wrexham Glyndwr is now a Top 100 University, rising 24 places in the Guardian league tables – one of the top 10 risers in the UK.  The Campus 2025 strategy encompasses plans for new student accommodation, car parking and upgraded facilities in the next eight years.