Academics and experts are to share their thoughts at a series of public seminars – and will ask for your views too.
The opening debate will ask “Do the doctors know best?”
The university said: “Have you ever gone online to check out your cold symptoms only to come away thinking you had a life-threatening disease?
“Are doctors ever right to keep patients and relatives ignorant of medical knowledge?
“Who is the expert on their own condition: patient or doctor?
“Can the man in the street ever fully understand medical science?
“Or could they help change the medical profession for the better?
“These issues and more will be examined in the first of a series of public debates that mark a new collaboration between the University of Sussex and Brighton Dome.
“The Sussex Salon Series of round-table discussions offer an alternative evening out and will include views from academics and other experts as well as the audience, who will have a chance to ask questions or register their views using an electronic voting system.
“The aim is to highlight research at the university that engages with contemporary issues in a way that will appeal to a wide audience.
“The practice of debating intellectual matters in public places such as coffee shops was a part of everyday life in 18th-century Europe.
“Such events were known as ‘salons’, hence the title of this university series.
“The first salon event – The Expert Patient: is lay knowledge and self-diagnosis actually good for our health or medical science? – takes place on Wednesday 6 October at 8pm.”
The panellsts are
Writer, consultant and mindfulness coach Ed Halliwell, who writes for The Guardian newspaper on health, well-being and religious issues
Sally Smith QC, a barrister who specialises in medical law and who has acted in numerous high-profile cases
Sussex University Professor of Sociology Gillian Bendelow, whose research covers areas including chronic illness, pain and contested conditions, health promotion and lay concepts of health and illness
Sussex University senior lecturer in law Jo Bridgeman, whose principal areas of interest are responsibilities to children, legal theory and the care of children and whose work includes research into the Bristol Royal Infirmary Inquiry and its conclusions on the care of child heart patients
Sussex University lecturer in sociology Dr Catherine Will, whose work on the sociology of science and technology, social and healthcare policy includes investigations into clinical trials and over the counter self-medication.
Sussex University sociologist Dr Ruth Woodfield has organised the salon events, which showcase the combined expertise of academics in the University’s School of Law, Politics and Sociology.
Dr Woodfield said: “We are delighted to be working with the Dome on this venture.
“This will provide an exciting opportunity for us all to share expertise and experience in a relaxed environment.”
The next two salon sessions will be
Wednesday 3 November: How New is the New Politics? with Caroline Lucas MP, Lib Dem politician Mark Oaten, University of Sussex academics Professor Paul Webb, Professor Tim Bale, Dr Luke Martell and Dr Charlotte Skeet
Wednesday 1 December: What difference have civil partnerships made? with the activist and campaigner Peter Tatchell, the writer, broadcaster and gay rights champion Simon Fanshawe and University of Sussex academics Dr Craig Lind and Dr Ben Fincham.
The tickets cost £5 (or £3 for concessions) and the price includes a free drink.