Dr Ross Millar

Ross Millar

Health Services Management Centre
Reader in Health Organisation

Contact details

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

Ross is a Reader in Health Organisation with interests in the organisation and governance of healthcare. His research analyses the experiences and dynamics of quality and safety, partnerships and collaboration, and hybrid organisational forms.

Ross is a Programme Director for the Level 7 Senior Leader Degree Apprenticeship. He also teaches across a range of HSMC programmes in relation to quality and safety, understanding organisational performance, and innovation and improvement.


  • PhD, University of Manchester (2009)
  • MRes, University of Manchester (2003)
  • B.Soc.Sci (Hons), University of Manchester (2002)

Professional qualifications:

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning, University of Birmingham, 2014
  • Graduate Teaching Certificate, University of Manchester, 2003


Ross is a Reader in Health Organisation. His research interacts with global health agendas promoting the improvement of quality and safety, the development of partnerships and collaboration, and the role of social enterprise across health and social care.

His methodological interests are primarily qualitative in capturing  different workforce perspectives using interviews and observations. Ross also has an interest in Realist synthesis and evaluation.

Ross has published widely across these research areas and takes a particular interest in connecting these experiences to different theories of public policy, organisation studies, and sociology.

Ross is a Programme Director for the Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship. He teaches across a range postgraduate modules in relation to quality and safety, understanding organisational performance, and innovation and improvement. Ross also contributes to other teaching activities and programmes in HSMC as well as in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences.

Between 2015 and 2019, Ross was the Director of Learning and Teaching at HSMC. 


MSc Health and Care System Leadership (Degree Apprenticeship)

  • Understanding Organisational Performance
  • Leading Quality & Safety
  • Innovation & Improvement

MSc Health Policy and Management

  • Health Care Quality: Improvement and Innovation 

BMedSci Intercalated Degree in Health Management and Leadership

  • Improving Quality & Patient Safety

Postgraduate supervision

Ross is interested in PhD supervision across the following research areas:

Healthcare reform
Quality improvement
Patient Safety
Partnerships and Collaboration

He specialises in the use of qualitative research methods within such areas.


Ross has worked on a range of research projects which have been funded by the British Academy, Department of Health Policy Research Programme, NIHR Health Service and Delivery programme, the Health Foundation, and the Academic Health Science Network. Recent projects have included:

  • How health and care boards interact with research evidence
  • A study of inter organisational collaboration across NHS providers
  • Examining the role of NHS Boards in overseeing quality and safety in hospitals
  • Comparative case studies of healthcare reform in the NHS
  • Analysing workforce perspectives of healthcare reform in China¬†
  • The start-up and growth of social enterprises in health and social care

Ross draws on a variety of theories and ideas from public policy, organisation studies and sociology to make sense of these developments. His methodological interests are primarily qualitative drawing on interviews and observations. He also has an interest in Realist synthesis and evaluation.

Ross is interested in any PhD proposals connected to these areas.


Recent publications


Dong, S, Millar, R, Shi, C, Dong, M, Xiao, Y, Shen, J & Li, G 2021, 'Rating hospital performance in China: review of publicly available measures and development of a ranking system', Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 23, no. 6, e17095. https://doi.org/10.2196/17095

Aunger, J, Millar, R & Greenhalgh, J 2021, 'When trust, confidence, and faith collide: refining a realist theory of how and why inter-organisational collaborations in healthcare work', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 21, 602. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-021-06630-x

Aunger, J, Millar, R, Greenhalgh, J, Mannion, R, Rafferty, AM & McLeod, H 2021, 'Why do some inter-organisational collaborations in healthcare work when others do not? A realist review', BMC Systematic Reviews, vol. 10, 82. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-58882/v1, https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01630-8

Mannion, R, Davies, H, Powell, M, Blenkinsopp, J, Millar, R, McHale, J & Snowden, N 2019, 'Healthcare scandals and the failings of doctors: do official inquiries hold the profession to account?', Journal of Health, Organization and Management, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 221-240. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-04-2018-0126

Millar, R, Freeman, T, Mannion, R & Davies, H 2019, 'Meta-regulation meets deliberation: situating the governor within NHS Foundation Trust hospitals', Journal of Social Policy, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 595-613. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279418000739

Zhang, M, Wang, W, Millar, R, Li, G & Yan, F 2017, 'Coping and compromise: a qualitative study of how primary health care providers respond to health reform in China', Human Resources for Health, vol. 15, no. 1, 50. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-017-0226-z

Mannion, R, Davies, H, Jacobs, R, Kasteridis, P, Millar, R & Freeman, T 2017, 'Do Hospital Boards matter for better, safer, patient care?', Social Science & Medicine, vol. 177, pp. 278-287. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.01.045


Millar, R, Mannion, R & Miller, R 2020, Buddies and mergers: decentring the performance of healthcare provider partnerships. in Decentring Health and Care Networks. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 67-94.

Millar, R, Hall, K & Miller, R 2020, Hybrid organisations in English health and social care. in D Billis & C Rochester (eds), Handbook on Hybrid Organisations. Edward Elgar, pp. 82-95.

Mannion, R, Davies, H, Millar, R & Freeman, T 2018, Board governance for better, safer healthcare. in Global Patient Safety. Routledge.

Mannion, R, Davies, H, John, B, McHale, J, Millar, R, Powell, M & Snowden, N 2018, Speaking up or blowing the whistle for better, safer care. in Global Patient Safety: Law, Policy and Practice.

Commissioned report

Mannion, R, Blenkinsopp, J, Powell, M, McHale, J, Millar, R, Snowden, N & Davies, H 2018, Understanding the knowledge gaps in whistleblowing and speaking up in health care: narrative reviews of the research literature and formal inquiries, a legal analysis and stakeholder interviews. Health Services and Delivery Research, vol. 60, 30 edn, National Institute for Health Research. https://doi.org/10.3310/hsdr06300

Review article

Millar, R 2021, 'From Mao to McDonaldization? Assessing the rationalisation of health care in China', Sociology of Health and Illness, vol. 43, no. 7, pp. 1643-1659. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13351

Aunger, J, Millar, R, Greenhalgh, J, Mannion, R, Rafferty, AM & McLeod, H 2020, 'Building an initial realist theory of partnering across National Health Service providers', Journal of Integrated Care. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-05-2020-0026

Blenkinsopp, J, Snowden, N, Mannion, R, Powell, M, Davies, H, Millar, R & McHale, J 2019, 'Whistleblowing over patient safety and care quality: a review of the literature', Journal of Health, Organization and Management, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 737-756. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-12-2018-0363

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