He graduated in International Relations from Keele University in 1978 and subsequently was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Letters by Keele University in 2008. He worked for Terrence Higgins Trust from 1985, when he started in the postroom, subsequently working his way to become Chief Executive in 1991, a post he held until 2013.
He is also Chair of Involve, an advisory group promoting public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research. He lives in Peckham, London with his partner of 27 years, a counselling psychologist.
In 1999 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his contribution to the charitable sector and was appointed a Commissioner of the Commission for Health Improvement. Partridge was knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours.
In 2006, he was declared one of the 100 most influential gay and lesbian people in Britain by the Independent; and in 2010 was ranked 75th (rising from 89th the previous year) in the same list. There was controversy about his final salary on retirement 
- Greenhalgh, Hugo (March 8, 2013). "At home: Sir Nick Partridge". ft.com. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- "No. 58929". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2008. p. 1.
- "Gay Power: The pink list", The Independent, 2 July 2006, archived from the original on January 7, 2008, retrieved 1 December 2008
- "The IoS Pink List 2010", The Independent on Sunday, London: Independent Print Limited, 1 August 2010, retrieved 11 September 2011