Professor Judith Smith

Professor Judith Smith

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

Contact details

School of Social Policy, Health Services Management Centre
Park House
University of Birmingham
B15 2RT, United Kingdom

Judith is a highly experienced and widely published health services researcher and policy analyst. She took up post as Director of the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) and Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Birmingham on 1 June 2015.  This followed six years spent as Director of Policy at the Nuffield Trust, an independent charitable health research foundation in London.

Earlier in her career, Judith spent 12 years at HSMC, holding the positions of Senior Lecturer, Director of Research, and Academic Director of the NHS Management Training Scheme. From 2007 to 2009, Judith was based in New Zealand as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Health Services Research Centre of Victoria University of Wellington and working as an advisor to the New Zealand Ministry of Health. Early in her career she was a senior manager in the NHS, and successfully completed the NHS graduate management training scheme. Judith is a Non-executive Director of the Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, an Honorary Professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Judith’s other roles have included being an expert advisor on NHS organisation and commissioning, and policy assessor to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, a member of the board of the UK Health Services Research Network and the European Health Management Association, and chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Commission on Models of Care.

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  • 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 Management (1990)
  • BA (Hons) in French Language and Literature, University of Birmingham (1987)


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

In addition to her research and development work, she provides regular advice to the Department of Health (DH) and NHS England in relation to primary care, integrated care, health commissioning, and wider health policy issues.  She also works closely with bodies such as the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, National Voices, the NHS Alliance, the National Association of Primary Care, NHS Confederation, major health charities, and the medical royal colleges.

She regularly provides background briefings, write articles and prepare blogs for the print and on-line media.  She has written recently for the Guardian, Health Service Journal, British Medical Journal News, and the Financial Times. She also regularly gives interviews to the media, and has appeared on BBC News, BBC News 24, The World Tonight, File on Four, Five Live News, and numerous BBC local news stations.

She 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.



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
  • UK Health Services Research Network
  • Australia and New Zealand Health Services Research Association
  • Commissioning Panel of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Services Delivery Research Programme
  • European Union DG SANCO panel on the future of primary care in the context of investing in health for the future (2013-14)



Chambers, N., Boyd, A., Kendrick, H., Proudlove, N., Thorlby, R., Smith. J. and Mannion, R. (2016) Board leadership in the wake of Francis: challenges, changes and achievements. Health Service Journal, 10 June 2016.

Curry N and Smith JA (2016) ‘Purchasing healthcare’, in Healthcare Management, 3rd edition, eds K Walshe and J Smith, London, Open University.

Smith JA and Walshe KMJ (2016) ‘Introduction: the current and future challenges of healthcare management’, in Healthcare Management, 3rd edition, eds. K Walshe and J Smith, London, Open University Press.

Smith JA (2016) ‘Primary healthcare’, in Healthcare Management, 3rd edition, eds K Walshe and J Smith, London, Open University Press.

Walshe KMJ and Smith JA [eds] (2016) Healthcare Management, 3rd edition. London, Open University Press.


Smith JA, Dayan M and Picton C (2014) Now more than ever: why pharmacy needs to act. London, Nuffield Trust

Smith JA (2014) Pharmacists as care givers can make the Forward View come true. Health Service Journal comment piece, 16 December 2014

Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Working in Health (2014) Definition of a frame of reference in relation to primary care with a special emphasis on financing systems and referral systems.  Brussels, European Commission

Smith JA (2014) Hospital culture has changed due to Francis.  Health Service Journal, 6 February 2014,


Smith JA, Picton C and Dayan M (2013) Now or never: shaping pharmacy for the future. Report of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Commission on Future Models of Care.  London, Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Smith JA, Holder H, Edwards N, Maybin J, Parker H, Rosen R and Walsh N (2013) Securing the future of general practice: new models of primary care.  London, the Nuffield Trust and the King’s Fund

Bardsley M, Steventon A, Smith JA and Dixon J (2013) Evaluating integrated and community-based care: how do we know what works?  London, the Nuffield Trust

Curry N, Holder H and Smith JA (2013) Evaluation of the North West London Integrated Care Pilot: strategic implementation and the policy context.  London, Nuffield Trust and Imperial College

Smith JA, Shaw SE, Porter A, Rosen R, Blunt I, Davies A, Eastmure E and Mays N (2013) Commissioning high quality care for people with long-term conditions.  Southampton, National Institute for Health Research

Smith JA (2013) The Francis Inquiry: from diagnosis to treatment.  Journal of Medical Ethics. Published Online: 12 December 2012 doi:10.1136/ medethics-2013-101461.

Smith JA (2013) Let’s recruit, develop and plan leadership differently.  Health Service Journal, 16 July 2013

Mays N and Smith JA (2013) What can England’s NHS learn from Canterbury New Zealand? British Medical Journal 347, f6513 (published 29 October, 2013).

Shaw S, Smith JA, Porter A, Rosen R and Mays N (2013) The work of commissioning: a multi-site case study of health care commissioning in England’s NHS.  BMJ Open 2013; 3: e003341

Porter A, Mays N, Shaw S, Rosen R and Smith JA (2013) Commissioning healthcare for people with long term conditions: the persistence of relational contracting in England’s NHS quasi-market. BMC Health Services Research 13 (suppl 1) :S3, 24 May 2013

Smith JA (2013) Francis report shows NHS is not the national treasure we thought it was. Guardian Healthcare Network, 6 February 2013


Smith JA (2012) How can the NHS do more for less? Guardian Healthcare Network, 17 October 2012   Smith JA and Mays N (2012) GP led commissioning: time for a cool appraisal. British Medical Journal vol 344, pp23-25 (published 16 February 2012).


Walshe KMJ and Smith JA [eds] (2011) Healthcare Management, 2nd edition. Buckingham, Open University Press.


Smith JA, Mays N, Ovenden C, Cumming J, McDonald J and Boston J (2010) Managing Mixed Financing of Privately Owned Providers in the Public Interest.  Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Institute for Policy Studies.

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.


Health and Social care

NHS policy and organisation, hospital services, general practice and primary care, health care funding, international comparisons in health care, older people's care