Skip to main content

Think like a patient, act like a taxpayer

15 November 2016

In his most recent blog, Andrew Walton looks at Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Steven's phrase of 'Think like a patient, act like a taxpayer' in more detail.

‹ Back to list

Think like a patient, act like a taxpayer

Simon Stevens April 2014


When Mr Stevens returned to the NHS two and a half years ago he used this phrase in his first speech as Chief Executive of NHS England. Whilst it’s a useful phrase there is, of course, a third leg to the stool – Staff.

Patients – There are more of them expecting more.

Taxpayers – The majority didn’t want to pay more.  Most other government departments are envious of the protection health budgets have had in recent years.

Staff – Most have experienced some change over recent years, many have found that difficult.

Away from health, in other industries, how is the balance between customers, markets and workforce met?  What can health providers learn from other sectors?

I recently visited a manufacturer and supplier of heat exchangers for the automotive industry (car radiators).  Typically, they have capacity that can’t turn to an annual price reduction; it is expected that the ‘provider’ will do more for less.  That’s normal in many markets.

As a patient, a taxpayer and someone who works in healthcare, there is a great opportunity to get a better deal for all parties.

Simon Stevens speaking at the NHS Confed this year
Back to top