Dr Ross Millar

Ross Millar

Health Services Management Centre
Director and Reader in Health Organisation

Contact details

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

Ross is the Director of HSMC and a Reader in Health Organisation.

 He is a passionate about better understanding the experience of health and care organisations with the view to supporting their development. Ross has a research and education background in the study of quality and safety and the forging of partnerships and collaboration.


  • 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 the Director of HSMC and a Reader in Health Organisation.

Since joining HSMC in 2008, Ross has developed research interests in the areas of improving quality and safety, the development of inter-organisational collaboration, and the adoption of organisational innovation such as social enterprise. What unites these interests is a passion for understanding and developing health and care organisations.

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 has wide ranging teaching interests. He works across a range postgraduate modules in relation to quality and safety, organisational performance, digital health, and innovation and improvement. 

Between 2015 and 2019, Ross was the Director of Learning and Teaching at HSMC and more recently has been the Programme Director for the Health and Care System Leadership Apprenticeship.


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:

Quality improvement
Inter-organisational collaboration

He specialises in the use of qualitative research methods.


Ross has worked on a range of research and development 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 provider organisations
  • Examining the role of executive Boards in overseeing quality and safety 
  • Comparative case studies of healthcare reform 
  • 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


Bian, D, Xiao, Y, Song, K, Dong, M, Li, L, Millar, R, Shi, C & Li, G 2023, 'Determinants Influencing the Adoption of Internet Health Care Technology Among Chinese Health Care Professionals: Extension of the Value-Based Adoption Model With Burnout Theory', Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 25, e37671. https://doi.org/10.2196/37671

Aunger, JA, Millar, R & Greenhalgh, J 2023, 'Modelling lifecycles of inter-organizational collaborations in healthcare: a systematic review and best-fit framework synthesis', Journal of Health, Organization and Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHOM-01-2022-0025

Millar, R, Aunger, JA, Rafferty, AM, Greenhalgh, J, Mannion, R, McLeod, H & Faulks, D 2023, 'Towards achieving interorganisational collaboration between health-care providers: a realist evidence synthesis', Health and Social Care Delivery Research, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 1-130. https://doi.org/10.3310/KPLT1423

Aunger, JA, Millar, R, Rafferty, AM & Mannion, R 2022, 'Collaboration over competition? Regulatory reform and inter-organisational relations in the NHS amidst the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 22, no. 1, 640. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-08059-2

Parkinson, S, Bousfield, J, Millar, R, George, J & Marjanovic, S 2022, 'Communicating research evidence to boards in health and care organisations: a scoping study', Rand health quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 25. <https://www.rand.org/pubs/periodicals/health-quarterly/issues/v9/n3/25.html>

Aunger, JA, Millar, R, Rafferty, AM, Mannion, R, Greenhalgh, J, Faulks, D & McLeod, H 2022, 'How, when, and why do inter-organisational collaborations in healthcare work? A realist evaluation', PLoS ONE, vol. 17, no. 4, e0266899. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0266899

Powell, M, Blenkinsopp, J, Davies, H, Mannion, R, Millar, R, McHale, J & Snowden, N 2022, 'The case of the disappearing whistleblower: an analysis of National Health Service inquiries', Public Money & Management, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 59-69. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540962.2021.1892959

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, no. 1, 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: A realist review', BMC Systematic Reviews, vol. 10, no. 1, 82. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-58882/v1, https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01630-8


Millar, R, Waring, J & Lalani, M 2023, Quality and the NHS: Fair-Weather Friends or a Long-Standing Relationship? in M Exworthy, R Mannion & M Powell (eds), The NHS at 75: The State of UK Health Policy. Bristol University Press, pp. 136-156. <https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/the-nhs-at-75>

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.

Commissioned report

Parkinson, S, Bousfield, J, Millar, R, George, J & Marjanovic, S 2021, Communicating research evidence to boards in health and care organisations: A scoping study. RAND Corporation. https://doi.org/10.7249/RRA1267-1


Millar, R, Williams, C, Morgan, S & Agble, R 2022, 'Realising population health: how can collaboration between NHS providers meet the challenges ahead?', British Journal of Healthcare Management, vol. 29, no. 12. https://doi.org/10.12968/bjhc.2022.0111

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

View all publications in research portal