Global health expert highlights WNE innovation

Published On: 8th July 2020

Lord Nigel Crisp, the former chief executive of the NHS and a Well North Enterprises special adviser, is calling for a new partnership between the NHS, government and the general public to build a healthy and health-creating society after COVID-19.

In his latest book Health is made at home; Hospitals are for repairs, launched to an international audience on 29th June, he challenges the public to set aside normal assumptions, “take off our traditional NHS spectacles” to see the world differently and take more personal control of our health.

“There will still be a vital role for us when this pandemic is over because the NHS can’t by itself deal with many of today’s major health problems such as loneliness, stress, obesity, poverty and addictions. It can only react, doing the repairs but not dealing with the underlying causes,” says Lord Crisp.

In his detailed assessment of innovative ways to tackle the causes of ill-health, Lord Crisp highlights the track record of Executive Chairman Lord Andrew Mawson and the Well North Enterprises (WNE) team in placing health and wellbeing absolutely at the centre of the local community and local economy.

Lord Crisp outlines the ambitious WNE programme with the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey, which is seeking to broaden the Trust’s role in the local community, using the redevelopment of one of its two major sites as an opportunity to create new facilities in local communities and meet the needs of the local population.

He also reflects on the team’s work with Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the local authority, businesses and the local community to create a new health, leisure, business and enterprise cluster, based on the lessons learned at WNE partner the Bromley by Bow Centre in East London.

Joining a panel of leading speakers at the book’s launch, Lord Mawson said: “Nigel has pinpointed the fact that we need a local, entrepreneurial approach to creating healthier communities.  As recent experience has demonstrated, a centrally planned approach delivered by the traditional machinery of government has its limitations.

“Now we have an exciting opportunity to do things differently. Let’s work with people on the ground who can respond at speed, like the Artz Centre and the Sewing Rooms in Skelmersdale, two projects backed by Well North which are also mentioned in the book.  If we support social entrepreneurs who are deeply rooted in their community with a tested business model and commercial discipline, we can start to scale up projects successfully. We should stop ignoring what Sir Paul Nurse, the Nobel laureate, calls the “importance of the little ships”.

“My experience over 35 years is that bringing together the public sector, business partners and social entrepreneurs is the only way to generate sustainable change across communities. We need far more joined up behaviour and far less old fashioned siloed government machinery. I’d encourage everyone involved in building healthier communities to read Nigel’s inspiring book.  We can all benefit from his insight, wisdom and innovative thinking.”

The book costs £9.99 and is available from

Lord Crisp will be leading a series of webinars on the theme of Building a healthy and health-creating society in July and August – for the full programme go to



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