Clinicians in Management – Does it make a Difference.
Press Release May 31st 2012
New evidence of increased quality for patients when Doctors are on NHS Boards
Research by Leeds University Business School has shown that having more doctors on NHS Trust Boards increases patient satisfaction rates, and lowers patient morbidity rates.
Despite the Government’s best efforts over the last ten years to get more doctors and nurses onto the boards of NHS Trusts, this research (the first survey of its kind) has found that the boards remain dominated by non-clinicians, such as accountants and managers. Clinicians make up an average of just 26% of board members in English hospital trusts, with major variations around the country.
The research, led by Professor Ian Kirkpatrick, looks at the relationship between having doctors on the boards of trusts and patient satisfaction rates, patient morbidity rates and how highly the hospital’s management is regarded. Essentially, having more doctors on the board increases patient satisfaction rates, and lowers patient morbidity rates.
This has implications for Conservative plans for the NHS because having doctors on trust boards increases the likelihood of the hospital receiving a 4* (HC) rating. This in turn suggests that hospitals can significantly improve through better management and without the need for major structural reform. Government’s plans for NHS are unproven; but this paper gives a proven way to make the NHS more effective without major alterations.
Clinical participation in board level management is low by international standards. On average clinicians make up just over a quarter of all board members (26.03%) and doctors, 14% in English NHS hospital trusts. Numbers have however increased slowly between 2006-2009.
More clinicians are likely to be on the boards of trusts where the CEO has a clinical background.
Increasing the number of doctors on boards significantly increases quality assessed in terms of Health Commission trust ratings, lower morbidity rates and increased patient satisfaction.
There is evidence of a positive, but not clearly significant relationship between doctors on the board and financial ratings.
The number of board members with nursing and allied health professional backgrounds is less clearly associated with improved performance outcomes.
The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise showed the University of Leeds to be the UK’s eighth biggest research powerhouse. The University is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University’s vision is to secure a place among the world’s top 50 by 2015.