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Doctor board members increase hospital performance

Authors: Helen Jaques 

Publication date:  09 Jun 2012


Including doctors on hospital trust boards increases the performance of the organisation, research by the University of Leeds has found.

Those trusts in England with the highest proportion of doctors on their governing board had the highest Healthcare Commission (now Care Quality Commission) quality scores and the lowest hospital standardised mortality ratios.

The researchers found that if the proportion of doctors on a board increases by around 10%, the probability that a hospital trust would achieve the maximum score of four for quality increases by 7%.

Having a higher number of doctors in executive roles on trust boards was also linked with better financial performance of the organisation over three years (2006-7, 2007-8, and 2008-9), and hospital trusts with a greater ratio of clinical directors achieved the highest satisfaction scores from their patients.

However, only 14% of board members at the 102 hospital trusts in England analysed by the researchers were doctors and 26% overall were clinicians (doctors, nurses, or allied health professionals).

The authors recommend that increasing the role of doctors in strategic decision making through “talent management” and policies to support joint working between doctors and managers could improve the quality of health services in the UK.

Helen Jaques news reporter BMJ Careers

 hjaques@bmj.com

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