Professor Judith Smith

Professor Judith Smith

Health Services Management Centre
Professor of Health Policy and Management
Director of the Health Services Management Centre

Contact details

School of Social Policy, HSMC
Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT, United Kingdom

Judith Smith is Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Health Services Management Centre, having taken up this role in 2015. She is also Director of the BRACE Rapid Evaluation Centre funded by the National Institute of Health Research for five years (2018-2023) and involving the University of Birmingham, University of Cambridge, RAND Europe, and National Voices. 

Judith is a highly experienced and widely published health services researcher and policy analyst, specialising in health care organisation and management, having spent over 25 years working in health services research and development, following an earlier career as a senior manager in the NHS. Her main research interests are: the organisation and management of primary care; long-term conditions and integrated care; health purchasing and commissioning; the development and evaluation of health care organisation and service delivery; and health care management and governance. 

In addition to her academic role, Judith is a Non-Executive Director of the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.  In December 2020, Judith was appointed as Deputy Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Services and Delivery Research Programme.  She is a Trustee and Deputy Chair of Health Services Research UK.   Judith also holds the role of Director of Health Services Research within Birmingham Health Partners.


  • PhD in Health Services Management, University of Birmingham, 2009
  • MBA in Business Administration, Open University Business School, 1999
  • Diploma in Health Services Management, Institute of Health Services Management, 1990
  • BA (Hons) in French Language and Literature, University of Birmingham, 1987


Judith’s career has spanned the worlds of health policy, management and research and she is driven by a commitment to bring the best research evidence to bear on the real-life problems and issues faced by health care managers, practitioners and policy makers.  This formed the basis of Judith’s inaugural professorial lecture in 2016.  As with the mission of HSMC, rigour and relevance drive her research, teaching and development activities. 

Prior to moving to the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) as Director 2015, Judith spent over six years as Director of Policy at the Nuffield Trust, a charitable independent health research foundation in London. In this role, she led a team of researchers and analysts whose work focused on primary and community health care, long-term conditions, health commissioning, the monitoring and assurance of health and social care quality, and the quest for integrated care. Judith has always maintained an active portfolio of research projects, funded by a range of national and local bodies, focused on how the organisation and delivery of health services might be further improved. 

Over the period 2010-2013 Judith was engaged by the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry as expert advisor on health organisation and commissioning and an assessor of the inquiry’s policy recommendations. She also prepared expert evidence on health services management for the Public Inquiry into Paediatric Heart Surgery in Bristol, in 2000.

Throughout her career, Judith has shown a clear and consistent commitment to undertaking research and development work that seeks to improve the quality of care for people using NHS and social care services.  Recent examples include: 

A two-year study for the National Institute of Health Research about how healthcare boards in the NHS in England responded to the recommendations on organisational leadership set out in the Francis Public Inquiry Report. 

The five-year national evaluation of Integrated Care and Support Pioneers for the Department of Health. 

An extensive programme of work to evaluate new models of primary care, including Securing the future of general practice: new models of primary care

A two-year National Institute of Health Research research study on commissioning high quality care for people with long-term conditions and 

The evaluation of a large-scale integrated care scheme across North West London.


Judith is the University of Birmingham lead for the NHS Leadership Academy Elizabeth Garrett Anderson MSc programme which is delivered jointly with the University of Manchester, and also forms part of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. 

Judith contributes teaching sessions to the Healthcare Management MSc module, the Degree Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care Leadership, and the intercalated degree in Healthcare Management and Leadership.


In 2018 HSMC was awarded a five-year £2.3 million contract to establish (with RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge) one of two National Rapid Evaluation Centres funded by the National Institute of Health Research, and Judith is the Director of this BRACE (Birmingham, RAND and Cambridge evaluation) centre. Studies being undertaken by BRACE include: the early implementation of primary care networks in England (with Judith as principal investigator); hospitals running general practice services; mental health trailblazer pilots in schools; and an overarching programme of research into service innovations for people of all ages living with multiple complex conditions (with Judith as Co-Principal Investigator, with Jon Sussex).  

Judith's main research interests are: the organisation and management of primary care; long-term conditions and integrated care; health commissioning; the development and evaluation of health care organisation and service delivery; and health care management and culture.     Current and recent projects include:

Other activities

Judith is a member of the following: 

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine
  • European Health Policy Group
  • Health Services Research UK
  • Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand 

Judith also holds the following visiting academic appointments: 

  • Visiting Professor, Department of Health Services Research and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2015-) 
  • Adjunct Professor, Health Services Research Centre, Victoria University, Wellington (2017-) 
  • Senior Associate, the Nuffield Trust for Research and Policy Studies in Health (2015-)


Recent publications


Lewis, RQ, Checkland, K, Durand, MA, Ling, T, Mays, N, Roland, M & Smith, JA 2021, 'Integrated care in England – what can we learn from a decade of National Pilot Programmes?', International Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 21, no. 4, 5.

Parkinson, S, Smith, J & Sidhu, M 2021, 'The early development of primary care networks in the NHS in England: a qualitative mixed-methods evaluation', BMJ open, vol. 11, no. 12, e055199.

Smith, J, Wistow, G, Holder, H & Gaskins, M 2019, 'Evaluating the design and implementation of the whole systems integrated care programme in North West London: why commissioning proved (again) to be the weakest link', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 19, 228.

Smith, J & Chambers, N 2019, 'Mid-Staffordshire: a case study of failed governance and leadership?', The Political Quarterly, vol. 90, no. 2, pp. 194-201.

Chambers, N, Smith, J, Proudlove, N, Thorlby, R, Kendrick, H & Mannion, R 2019, 'Roles and behaviours of diligent and dynamic healthcare boards', Health Services Management Research, vol. 32, no. 4.

Smith, J & Gosling, J 2017, 'Moving on up: Women in healthcare leadership', Practice Management, vol. 27, no. 2.


Fisher, R, Smith, J, Sidhu, M, Parkinson, S & Alderwick, H 2021, 'NHS reform: Five key questions about the future of primary care networks in England', The Health Foundation. <>

Smith, J & Harshfield, A 2019, 'Primary care networks: a marathon not a sprint', Health Service Journal. <>

Mannion, R & Smith, J 2017, 'Hospital culture and clinical performance: where next?', BMJ Quality & Safety.

Commissioned report

Ignatowicz, A, Crump, H, Lasserson, D & Smith, J 2020, Strategy evidence review for the Birmingham and Solihull Sustainability and Transformation Partnership. Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, Birmingham.

Smith, J, Parkinson, S, Harshfield, A & Sidhu, M 2020, The early implementation of primary care networks in the NHS in England: a rapid evaluation study. National Institute for Health Research.

Ellins, J, Griffith, L, Rosen, R, Miller, R, Brown, H & Smith, J 2017, Evaluation of the Connected Care Partnership Vanguard: Scoping and early findings report. NHS England.

Conference contribution

Chambers, N, Boyd, A, Proudlove, N, Smith, J, Mannion, R & Thorlby, R 2017, Research study on the learning from board-level leadership changes in acute hospitals following the Francis Inquiry. in HSRUK 2017 Presentations. HSRUK, Health Services Research UK Annual Symposium, Nottingham, 6/07/17.


Smith, J, Checkland , K, Sidhu, M, Hammond , J & Parkinson, S 2021, 'Primary care networks: are they fit for the future?', British Journal of General Practice , vol. 71, no. 704, pp. 106-107.

Web publication/site

Street, A, Smith, J & Lorgelly, P, Is the crisis in the NHS as bad as the Red Cross says it is?, 2017, Web publication/site, The Conversation . <>

View all publications in research portal


An expert on the NHS, health policy, primary care and general practice, health funding and commissioning, healthcare leadership and management. Professor Smith is the Director of the Health Services Management Centre and was previously Director of Policy at the Nuffield Trust, an independent charitable health research foundation in London.

Languages and other information

English (native speaker) 

French (fluent speaker)

Media experience

As Director of Policy of a major national health research foundation (2009-2015), my work entailed extensive communication and influencing activity with government, the media, the Department of Health, national representative organisations, and local health and social care bodies.  I continue to undertake this work from my position as Director of HSMC at the University of Birmingham.  

I regularly provide background briefings, write articles and prepare blogs for the print and on-line media.  I have written for the Guardian, Health Service Journal, British Medical Journal, and the Conversation.  I also regularly give interviews to the media, and have appeared on BBC News, BBC News 24, The World Tonight, File on Four, Five Live News, and numerous BBC local news stations.


Health and Social care

Professor Judith Smith is an expert on the NHS, health policy, primary care and general practice, health funding and commissioning, healthcare leadership and management.

Policy experience

Judith’s standing in the academic and policy community has been recognised in a number of ways. For example, in 2020 she was asked to form part of two new Colleges of Experts established by UKRI and NIHR to review and fund research commissioned rapidly to understand the Covid-19 pandemic and its implications for health and social care service delivery and organisation in both the UK and global contexts. 

Shewas expert adviser on NHS organisation and commissioning to the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, prepared four expert inquiry papers, gave two days of oral expert evidence to the inquiry, and presented at two of the inquiry policy seminars (on commissioning, and trust boards and their leaders).  In November 2012, she was appointed by Robert Francis QC to be an assessor to the Inquiry in relation to policy recommendations. 

Judith has given oral evidence to the Health Select Committee of the House of Commons as part of inquiries into: public expenditure on health; the implementation of the Coalition Government’s health reforms; and care for people with long-term conditions.  She gave oral evidence to the House of Lords 2013 Inquiry into the Inquiries Act, exploring her experience of being an expert adviser and assessor to the Francis Inquiry. 

She was Independent Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Commission on Future Models of Care which resulted in a publication, launched at a Parliamentary conference chaired by Sarah Wollaston MP (Chair of the Health Select Committee), setting out a new direction for pharmacy in England. 

Judith is a Non-Executive Director of the Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (2014-), where she is also the Chair of the Trust’s Research and Service Innovation Committee, and a member of the Quality Committee, Audit Committee, and Ethics Advisory Group.  

Judith provides regular advice to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England & Improvement in relation to primary care, integrated care, health commissioning, and wider health policy and governance issues.  She also works closely with bodies such as NHS Providers, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, National Voices, the National Association of Primary Care, NHS Confederation and the medical royal colleges.

She is listed as an expert in the University of Birmingham Policy experts guide.