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We welcome our inaugural patron…Lord Nigel Crisp

20 February 2019

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We are delighted to welcome Lord Nigel Crisp, independent crossbench member of the House of Lords and global health advocate, as our inaugural Patron.

Lord Crisp was Chief Executive of the NHS in England from 2000-2006, and now works and writes extensively on global health with a focus on Africa. He is Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health and Co-chair of the global Nursing Now! campaign.

Lord Crisp has worked closely with THET for many years, and his thinking on Health Partnerships in particular, has been an inspiration to the charity’s work. Reflecting on his first point of contact with THET when he met our Founder Professor Sir Eldryd Parry:


“I met Eldryd when I was Chief Executive of the NHS and he persuaded me to second a very senior clinician, Dr David Percy, to THET to help develop the organisation. David and I worked together with THET and with the Zambian UK Health Workforce Alliance for the next 8 or 9 years.”

In 2009, Lord Crisp was instrumental in the establishment of THET’s country presence in Zambia, following a range of meetings he conducted with the Ministry of Health at this time which looked at how the NHS could support the development of Zambia’s health system, especially in relation to anaesthesia.

In 2010 he published his ground breaking book Turning the World Upside Down, which demonstrated the many things that richer countries could learn from poorer ones about health. It introduced the idea that we should replace top-down thinking about international development with the concept of co-development – respectful international relationships in which we all learn from each other and learn together to confront our shared future. As part of his contribution as Patron of THET, Lord Crisp is Chairing our work on Innovation which builds on this thinking.

One World Health (2016) takes this further to describe how health can be improved in our inter-connected and interdependent world. All concepts THET prides itself on keeping at the heart of our work.

“Eldryd and I travelled to Ethiopia, where I visited a number of THET projects and learned more about the possibilities of partnership as a way of supporting development in low and middle income countries but also as a way of helping UK health workers to develop their skills and understanding.”


Speaking on his appointment as our first Patron in January 2019 he explained the reasons for his support of THET;

“THET is a charity which is good for the UK and the countries it serves. It is a great source of inspiration and hope in a world where the news is always about problems. This is about people trying to do something about it. In addition it is neither one of these big corporate NGOs which are far distant from the people they serve nor a government agency with all that that implies. It is about people relating to people and a symbol of global friendship and citizenship.”

Welcoming his appointment, Judith Ellis, Chair of THET’s Board of Trustees commented:

“Nigel’s thinking on global health and health partnerships, and on the role the NHS can be playing in strengthening health systems overseas – and in ways which bring mutual benefit to us all – has inspired much of the work of THET. We could not be more delighted to have him join us in this 30th year, as the charity’s first Patron.”

The UK has this fantastic tradition in educating professionals coupled with some of the best science in the world. It is an extraordinary base from which to take on these global issues.

Lord Nigel Crisp - Patron - THET

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