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It is increasingly becoming apparent the important role that Hospital boards, those executive members charged with developing strategies and cultures, play in overseeing the care provided by their organisation.

A recent article by Ross Millar, Tim Freeman, and Russell Mannion looks to offer a critical reflection on the current relationship between hospital boards and patient safety. Drawing on interviews with key informants and policy actors from the NHS, the authors highlight the potential dangers and limitations of board behaviours which narrowly focus on a ‘risk-based’ view of hospital performance driven by targets and metrics.

In response, they call for hospital boards to engage with concepts and approaches associated with developing trust based relationships. This perspective suggests that effective board oversight is built on ‘trust’ characterised by styles of leadership and behaviours that are attentive to the needs and concerns of both staff and patients. In addition, effective board oversight also requires gathering and triangulating of ‘intelligence’ generated from national and local information sources, combining quantitative and qualitative data. The authors call for a re-imagination of hospital board oversight in the light of these different perspectives and look to outline an emerging research agenda in this area.

The article is available open access from the following link: 

For further information feel free to contact Ross Millar -