New NHS chief vows to listen to patients

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.”

See here for the full text of Simon Stevens’ speech.


  1. Millie13anne says:

    NHS England wants patients to take more control of their own health, get engaged with CCGs and generally help to spread your messages. What is NHS England doing about training for Patient Leaders in this regard? Not a lot, specifically in London, and even mor e specifically, in South London. Lots of training at public expenses for insiders and not a lot to show for it but none for Patient Leaders. NHS East of England, to name but one, does it but not NHS London. The best army of advocates you could have is under your noses. Smell the coffee.

  2. Charlotte Peters Rock says:

    If only Simon Stevens realised that his NHS is currently letting down those who pay for it, is covering up a very large number of deliberate wrongs (to the long term detriment of many otherwise healthy people) and is not his to parcel up and give away to mates within the Commercial sector, we might have been in with a chance of having someone reasonable to run the NHS,

    As it is, that seems unlikely.

  3. Michele Clack says:

    I’m interested in the idea of excellent trusts taking over nearby struggling trusts. I don’t see how this can happen though. Many people in North Worcestershire can’t see how WAHTcan ever be in a position to run the Alexandra hospital Redditch as it can and should be. UHBT would like to take it over because of it’s proximity and their need for more capacity. The Alexandra is on a big site with room for development and close to the M42. WAHT rule that out as they say it would destabilise South Worcestershire.
    Without outside direction WAHT will struggle on, UHBT will have to spend money creating new capacity and everyone will be losers especially the people of North Worcestershire and parts of Warwickshire.

  4. Donna Tomkins says:

    I wish there was somebody there who would help us I feel St Richards Hospital in Chichester West Sussex . Killed my mother in October 2013 through lack of care , i’m caring lack of information too much hesitation , no communication with the family there for five days in hospital without me knowing how poorly my mum was . As was told she was doing okay how way through then for her to die. Since then I’ve been through hell and back with the NHS . I think it’s disgusting how long things take and how taken on the NHS is not taken on the army there is nobody there to help you and listen to you and explain all the medical terms that a throughout at you. If only I had a large bank account to take them to court as I don’t so I am going through the ombudsman at the moment which takes 70 days than to look into the case which is so wrong because there are so busy with the NHS complaints. I’ve been through is still going through from losing my mum I wouldn’t wish on my l worst enemy . The story is to long to write down ,,,, . I wish some one would help me .

    • Charlotte Peters Rock says:

      There are many more of us out here, Donna. You are not on your own, with what happened to you and your mother.

      The NHS coverup cannot surely go on forever.