Published research in the Journal for the Royal Society of Medicine Open (JRSM Open for short), conducted by Professor Colin Pritchard and Andrew Harding in HSC, is today (Friday 02/05/14) the focus of an article in the Independent newspaper.
After the Francis Report into the scandal at Mid Staffordshire lay considerable blame at the Board for failing to tackle “…an insidious culture…focused on doing the system’s business – not that of the patient…”, Professor Pritchard and Andrew Harding looked at the occupational backgrounds of non executive directors (NEDs) of 146 NHS acute trusts (n=1,001 NEDs). The NHS is modelled on corporate governance, where a board of directors are scrutinised and held to account by non executive directors.
Considering NEDs principle task is to hold the executive, and thus the NHS, to account, the study found a shocking lack of non executive directors with medical, clinical or patient representation or background. As the Independent headline indicates, only 8% of non executive board members were healthcare professionals. Instead, it was far more prevalent and common for non executive directors to be from a commercial, or financial background – with a high proportion having been employed or current employees of major financials firms such as Deloite, KPMG, Grant Thornton, Merrill Lynch, Price-WaterHouse Coopers and JP Morgan. Females NEDs and those from ethnic minorities were also found to be in short supply.
For a full breakdown of the findings the article can be found, and is openly available here.