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The NHS needs to tap into the energy of patients, carers and staff to “catalyse change”, Simon Stevens said today.
Making his first speech in his new role as NHS England’s chief executive, Mr Stevens added: “At a time when resources are tight, we’re going to have to find new ways of tapping into three incredible sources of ‘renewable energy’.”
Speaking at the International Centre For Life in Newcastle to an audience of around 300 NHS staff, health professionals and researchers, local public service leaders and educationalists, Mr Stevens explained these sources included:
- “Boosting the critical role that patients play in their own health and care.
- “Supporting the amazing commitment of carers and volunteers and communities to sustain their health and social care services.
- “Unleashing the passion and drive of the million plus frontline NHS staff who are devoting their professional lives to caring.”
He added, “I’m more and more convinced that these three energy sources are going to be central to our future.”
Mr Stevens speech marked the end of his first day in his new job on a visit to the north east where he started his NHS career more than 26 years ago.
The day began with Mr Stevens meeting patients and nurses at Shotley Bridge Hospital, Consett, County Durham, before moving on to a GP-led medical centre that serves 20,000 patients and is open all day, into the evening, and at weekends. It also offers online booking and repeat prescribing – as will all GPs by the end of this year – making care better and more convenient for patients.
Mr Stevens then went to South Shields – one of 14 new national “integration pioneers” – where the NHS, the local council and voluntary groups are working with patients to help them take more control of their own health.
He concluded his visit at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle where he saw how the NHS is supporting breakthrough medical research to find new ways of caring for patients.
Mr Stevens added: “It has been wonderful to be able to start my time as NHS England’s Chief Executive at the hospital where I began my NHS career twenty six years ago and which taught me so much about healthcare.
“I’ve started today listening to patients and I give you my absolute commitment that I intend to carry on doing so every day I am in this job.”