Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

Simon Stevens (centre) with Adrian Harris, Executive Medical Director, RD&E, and University Provost Professor Janice Kay

NHS England boss delivers Exeter Lecture

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, has delivered the latest in the University of Exeter’s ‘Exeter Lecture’ series, on the theme “Creating a 21st Century NHS”. 

The man accountable to Parliament for over £100 billion of annual Health Service funding talked about the need for change in an NHS structure which was inherited from historical events, and particularly the need to facilitate health services working more closely together to cater for today’s complex needs, including an increasingly ageing population and rising obesity.

Simon spoke of a drive towards “triple integration” – bringing together services that cater for physical and mental health and those that cater for health and social care, and the need for a close relationship between GPs and hospital staff.

He stressed that the NHS must “seize opportunities” for innovation and must advocate for healthy public policy to stop the rise of lifestyle related health problems such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity. 

Speaking to a diverse audience of students, staff, healthcare professionals and members of the public, Simon praised the standard of research at Exeter and the healthcare services in the region, and acknowledged that some areas needed improvement nationwide. He said: “Ultimately, the solutions will come from the people in this room. Building on the activity, the extremely high calibre and the commitment in this region, we will be benefitting from the high quality of our NHS well into the 21st century.”

The lecture came as Simon visited health services across the region,announcing two new state of the art radiotherapy equipment for cancer treatment at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and extra mental health funding to benefit the South West region.

Professor Janice Kay, Provost of the University of Exeter, who hosted the event, said: “I’m delighted that Simon accepted our invitation to be part of our prestigious lecture series. It was a privilege to host him, and I was pleased to see such a diverse group of engaged people in the audience including many representatives of the NHS from across the South West.”

Simon leads the NHS’s work nationally to improve health and ensure high quality care for all. Simon joined the NHS through its Graduate Training Scheme in 1988. As a frontline NHS manager he subsequently led acute hospitals, mental health and community services, primary care and health commissioning in the North East of England, London and the South Coast. He also served seven years as the Prime Minister’s Health Adviser at 10 Downing Street, and as policy adviser to successive Health Secretaries at the Department of Health.

Alongside his 16 years work for the NHS and UK public service, Simon spent a decade working internationally, leading health services in the United States, Europe, Brazil, India, China, Africa and the Middle East.

Launched in the University’s  Diamond Jubilee year, the ‘Exeter Lectures’ will bring high profile speakers from the worlds of academia, business, the arts and civil society to the University to share their thoughts and ideas, provoke discussion, and challenge us to rethink how we understand society.

The free lecture series aims to engage people on a range of topics relating to issues which face us today. The event proved particularly popular, with a video link to Truro and the Exeter auditorium booking up within 24 hours. 

Date: 4 November 2016

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