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.


  • 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)


Recent publications


Smith, J & Walshe, K (eds) 2016, Healthcare Management: 3rd edition. 3rd edn, Open University Press, Buckingham.


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.


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

Smith, J, Mannion, R & Chambers, N 2016, 'Board leadership in the wake of Francis: challenges, changes and achievements', Health Service Journal. <>

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.

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.

Chambers, N, Thorlby, R, Boyd, A, Smith, J, Proudlove, N, Kendrick, H & Mannion, R 2017, Responses to Francis: changes in board leadership and governance in acute hospitals in England since 2013. The Department of Health. <>

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, Mannion, R, Chambers, N, Thorlby, R, Boyd, A, Proudlove, N & Kendrick, H 2017, Walking a tightrope? Using case study research to understand how hospital boards are managing the tension between constrained funding and patient safety. in HSRUK 2017 Presentations. HSRUK, Health Services Research UK Annual Symposium, Nottingham, 6/07/17.


Smith, J, Chambers, N, Boyd, A, Proudlove, N, Thorlby, R, Mannion, R & Kendrick, H 2017, 'Well-led for Quality: Understanding the leadership changes made by NHS boards following the Francis Inquiry', NHS Providers Biennial Quality Conference, London, 8/06/17 - 8/06/17.

Other report

Smith, J & Allen, K 2016, Academic Health Science Network Peer Review: a report for Imperial College Health Partners and East Midlands Academic Health Science Network. University of Birmingham, Health Services Management Centre, Birmingham.

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.


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.