chief executive of NHS England will today (Tuesday) spend his first
day in the job in the north east where he started his NHS career 26
Stevens will start by meeting patients and nurses at Shotley Bridge
Hospital, Consett, County Durham, where he started his NHS career
as a managerial trainee.
As part of his visit to the North East, Simon will then visit a
GP-led medical centre where he will meet patients and staff. The
centre 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 will then travel to South Shields - one of 14 new
national "integration pioneers" - where the NHS and the local
council and voluntary groups are working with patients to help them
take more control of their own health.
He will conclude with a visit to the International Centre for
Life in Newcastle, where he will see how the NHS is supporting
breakthrough medical research to find new ways of caring for
Drawing on these visits, Mr Stevens will then give his first
speech in his new role to an audience of around 300 NHS staff,
health professionals and researchers, local public service leaders
He will tell his audience: "The global recession has meant the NHS
facing its most sustained budget crunch in its 66-year history. But
care for our patients has continued to be of an extremely high
standard. That is a remarkable tribute to the personal dedication -
and shared sacrifice - of health service staff. We should say thank
you. As someone who has spent the last decade working in health
care around the world, I know of no other country's health system
which has managed this economically turbulent period better."
He will add: "I know that for the NHS the stakes have never been
higher. Service pressures are intensifying, and longstanding
problems are not going to disappear overnight. Successfully
navigating the next few years is going to take a team effort -
involving the biggest team in the biggest effort the NHS has ever
He will make clear that he wants to spend his early days in the
role "listening to what patients, carers and frontline NHS staff
have to say about how the NHS is doing - and what needs to
He will also outline some of the areas in which he believes there
is now a broad policy and political consensus for action, including
action to raise standards of care for older people, better joint
working between health and social care, and new models of care
delivery harnessing new advances in medicine.
He will say: "Today we face new challenges, and will need new
solutions, while holding on to the vital gains of the past.
Fortunately over the years the NHS has shown a proven ability to
rise to the occasion.
"We know that the quality of NHS care is usually very high - but
occasionally it isn't, and we all want that to change. We know
we're going to need patients and carers to help redesign care. And
that an NHS with a 'like it or lump it' attitude will simply not
"We know that of course not every whistleblower will always get it
right, but the fact is: patients' lives are saved when courageous
people speak up - openly and honestly - and when each of us takes
personal accountability for putting things right.
"We also know that - increasingly - quality isn't just about the
individual test result or prescription or hospital stay, it's about
how all the pieces come together.
"An ageing population with more chronic health conditions, but with
new opportunities to live as independently as possible, means we're
going to have to radically transform how care is delivered outside
hospitals. Our traditional partitioning of health services - GPs,
hospital outpatients, A&E departments, community nurses,
emergency mental health care, out of hours units, ambulance
services and so on - no longer makes much sense."
Mr Stevens will conclude: "At all times our guiding principle will
be: walk in the shoes of the people we serve. Think like a patient,
act like a tax payer.
"Amazingly, one-in-three of the children born across England this
very day are likely to live to celebrate their 100th birthday. Our
mission is to ensure that a caring, compassionate and modern NHS is
there for them throughout their lives, every step of the way."