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Clinicians on the board: What difference does it make?


  • Veronesi, Gianluca
  • Kirkpatrick, Ian
  • Vallascas, Francesco


Around the world clinical professionals have increased their involvement in the management of health services. However the evidence to suggest that these changes will lead to improved performance remains fragmented. In this paper we address this matter focussing on the impact of clinicians appointed to the boards of directors of English NHS hospital trusts. Although the number of clinicians involved in the strategic governance of hospital trusts is relatively low by international standards, they do appear to have an impact on overall performance. Drawing on published information from hospital trust annual reports, publicly available performance measures from the Healthcare Commission and data gathered by Dr Foster over a three year period (2006–9), the paper reports two main findings. First, the analysis reveals a significant and positive association between a higher percentage of clinicians on boards and the quality ratings of service providers, especially where doctors are concerned. This positive influence is also confirmed in relation to lower morbidity rates and tests to exclude the possibility of reverse causality (doctors joining boards of already successful organisations). Second, we do not find the same level of support for clinical professions such as nurses and other allied health professions turned directors.

Suggested Citation

  • Veronesi, Gianluca & Kirkpatrick, Ian & Vallascas, Francesco, 2013. "Clinicians on the board: What difference does it make?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 147-155.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:77:y:2013:i:c:p:147-155
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.11.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hunter, David J., 1992. "Doctors as managers: Poachers turned gamekeepers?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 557-566, August.
    2. Goodall, Amanda H., 2011. "Physician-leaders and hospital performance: Is there an association?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(4), pages 535-539, August.
    3. Gianluca Veronesi & Kevin Keasey, 2011. "National Health Service Boards of Directors and Governance Models," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(6), pages 861-885, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:socmed:v:202:y:2018:i:c:p:99-107 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:kap:jbuset:v:152:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3290-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mannion, R. & Davies, H.T.O. & Jacobs, R. & Kasteridis, P. & Millar, R. & Freeman, T., 2017. "Do Hospital Boards matter for better, safer, patient care?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 278-287.
    4. Botje, Daan & Klazinga, Niek S. & Wagner, Cordula, 2013. "To what degree is the governance of Dutch hospitals orientated towards quality in care? Does this really affect performance?," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 134-141.
    5. Shimaa Elkomy & Zahra Murad & Veronica Veleanu, 2018. "Does Leadership Matter for Healthcare Service Quality? Evidence from NHS England," Working Papers in Economics & Finance 2018-08, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth Business School, Economics and Finance Subject Group.


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