Dr Iestyn Williams

Iestyn Williams

Health Services Management Centre
Reader in Health Policy and Management
Director of Research

Contact details

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

Iestyn is a Reader in Health Policy and Management and Director of Research, having joined HSMC from the Department of Health Economics in 2004. He is involved in a range of research, teaching and knowledge transfer work and has a broad methodogical experience and expertise. Recent and current projects include a national study of health care decommissioning and an investigation (with Warwick University) of publication bias in health services research.

Iestyn specialises in:

  • Priority setting
  • Health technology coverage decision-making
  • Decommissioning
  • Public value


His main qualifications are:

  • PhD Health Care Policy and Management, University of Birmingham (2009)
  • MPhil Cultural Studies and Sociology, University of Birmingham (2002)
  • BSocSc (1st) Media, Culture and Society, University of Birmingham (1995)


Iestyn's academic background is in Sociology which he studied at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Birmingham. Before joining HSMC, Iestyn worked in NHS management and prior to this spent five years in research and service development in the third sector. 

Current and recent projects 

  • A national study into decommissioning in health care (funded by the National Institute for Health Research)
  • A national study into publication bias in health services delivery research (funded by the National Institute for Health Research and led by Warwick University)
  • An investigation of capital spending in NHS organisations (funded by the Health Foundation)

Postgraduate supervision

Iestyn welcomes PhD proposals on the following themes:

  • Priority setting, decommissioning and rationing in health and care
  • Capital investment in health and care
  • The use of mixed methods in Health Services Delivery Research


Other activities

  • Member of the Council of Governors, University Hospitals Birmingham
  • Secretary, International Society for Priorities in Health
  • Associate Editor Journal of Health Organisation and Managemet
  • External Examiner City University London
  • External examiner Alliance Manchester Business School


Refereed Journal articles

Hall, W., Williams, I., Smith, N., Gold, M., Coast, J., Kapiriri, L., Danis, M., Mitton, C. (2018) Past, present and future challenges in health care priority setting: findings from an international expert survey. Journal of Health Organisation and Management (in press)

Williams, I., Brown, H., Healy, P. (2018) Contextual factors influencing cost and quality decisions in health and care: a structured evidence review and narrative synthesis. International Journal of Health Policy and Management (in press)

Daniels, T., Williams, I., Bryan, S., Mitton, C. and Robinson, S., (2017). Involving citizens in disinvestment decisions: what do health professionals think? Findings from a multi-method study in the English NHS. Health Economics, Policy and Law, pp.1-27.

Harlock, J., Williams, I., Robert, G., Mannion, R., Brearley, S., Hall, K. (2017) Doing more with less in health care: findings from a multi-method study of decommissioning in the English National Health Service.  Journal of Social Policy (early view)

Baltussen, R., Mitton, C., Danis, M., Williams, I., & Gold, M. (2017). Global developments in priority setting in health. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 6(3), 127.

Hunter, D., Williams, I. et al. (2016) Public involvement in health priority setting: future challenges for policy, research and society.  Journal of Health Organisation and Management. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 30(5), 796-808.

Williams, I. (2015) Receptive rationing: reflections and suggestions for priority setters in health care. Journal of Health Organisation and Management (in press).

Williams, I., Bryan, S. (2015) Lonely at the top and stuck in the middle? The ongoing challenge of using cost effectiveness information in priority setting.  International Journal of Health Policy and Management 4(3): 185–187.

Williams, I. and Dickinson, H. (2015) Going It Alone or Playing to the Crowd? A Critique of Individual Budgets and the Personalisation of Health Care in the English National Health Service. Australian Journal of Public Administration, DOI: 10.1111/1467-8500.12155

Miller, R., Williams, I., Allen, K. and Glasby, J. (2014) Evidence, insight, or intuition? Investment decisions in the commissioning of prevention services for older people, Journal of Care Services ManagementDOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1750168714Y.0000000027

Robert, G., Harlock, J., and Williams, I. (2014) Disentangling rhetoric and reality: an international Delphi study of factors and processes that facilitate the successful implementation of decisions to decommission health care services, Implementation Science 9: 123. doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0123-y

Smith, N., Mitton, C., Davison, A., Williams, I. (2014) A politics of priority setting: Ideas, Interests and Institutions in Healthcare Resource Allocation. Public Policy and Administration, 29(4): 331-347.

Williams, I (2014) Who wants to live forever? Organisational decline in health care, Journal of Health Services and Research Policy, Published online December 22, 2014. doi: 10.1177/1355819614564813.

Williams, I., Phillips, D., Nicholson, C., Shearer, H. (2014) Evaluation of a deliberative approach to citizen involvement in health care priority setting. Leadership in Health Services, 27 (1), 5 – 19.

Durose, C., Dickinson, H., Richardson, L. and Williams, I. (2013) Dos and don’ts for involving citizens in the design and delivery of health and social care. Journal of Integrated Care, 21 (6), 26 – 335.

Williams, I, Bovaird, T, Brown, H, Allen, K, Dickinson, H, Kennedy, J and Glasby, J (2013), Designing whole-systems commissioning: lessons from the English experience, Journal of Care Services Management, 6(2), 83-92.

Daniels, T., Williams, I., Robinson, S. (2013) Tackling Disinvestment in Health Care Services: the views of resource allocators in the English NHS, Journal of Health Organisation and Management, 27 (6): 762 – 780. DOI 10.1108/JHOM-11-2012-0225  

Williams, I. (2013) Institutions and health care rationing: the example of health care coverage in the English National Health Service, Policy and Politics.  

Robinson, S, Williams, I et al (2012), The practice of priority setting and rationing in health care: the English Experience, Social Science and Medicine.  

Robinson, S., Dickinson, H., Freeman, T., Rumboldt, B. and Williams, I. (2012) Structures and processes for priority setting by healthcare funders: a national survey of primary care trusts in England. Health Services Management Research 25(3): 113-20.  

Lafi, R., Robinson, S., Williams, I. (2012) Economic evaluation and health care rationing in Jordan: a study of national-level priority setting. Value in Health    

McCafferty, S., Williams, I., Hunter, D., Robinson, S., Donaldson, C.& Bate, A. (2012) Implementing world class commissioning competencies. Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 17: 40-48.  

Williams, I. (2012) Organisational readiness for innovation in health care: some lessons from the recent literature. Health Services Management Research, 24(4): 213-8.  

Dickinson, H., Williams, I., Freeman, T. & Robinson, S. (2012) Resource scarcity and priority setting: from management to leadership in the rationing of health care? Public Money and Management, 31(5): 363-370.  

Williams, I. & Shearer, H. (2011) Appraising Public Value: past, present and futures. Public Administration 89(4): 1367-1384.  

Williams, I., Dickinson, H., Robinson, S. (2011) Joined-up rationing? An analysis of priority setting in health and social care commissioning. Journal of Integrated Care 19(1): 3-11.  

Robinson, S., Dickinson, H., Freeman, T., Williams, I. (2011) Disinvestment in health: the challenges facing general practitioner (GP) commissioners. Public Money and Management 31(2) 145-148.  

Williams, I. and Glasby, J. (2010) Making 'what works' work: the use of knowledge in UK health and social care decision-making. Policy and Society. Advance online access doi10.1016/j.polsoc.2010.03.002.  

Williams, I. and Dickinson, H. (2010) Can knowledge management enhance technology adoption in health care? A review of the literature. Evidence & Policy 6(3): 309-31.  


Williams, I., Robinson, S. & Dickinson, H. (2012) Rationing in Health Care: the theory and practice of priority setting. Policy Press, Bristol.  

Book chapters  

Williams, I. (2016) ‘The governance of coverage in health systems: England’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)’ in Greer, SL., Wismar, M. and Figueras, J. (eds.) Strengthening Health System Governance: Better policies, stronger performance. Open University Press: Berkshire pp.159-172.

Williams, I and Bryan, S (2015) Using economic evaluation in priority setting: what do we know and what can we do? In E.Nagel, M, Lauerer and V Schatzlein (eds) Legitimization and framework of prioritization in medicine: an international dialogue. Springer Verlag, Germany.

Williams, I. & Bryan, S. (2012) Creating a receptive environment. In C. Mitton, S. Peacock & S. Bryan (eds.) Managing scarcity in health care: a handbook for decision makers. Longwoods Publishing (forthcoming).  

Bryan S. & Williams I. (2014) Adoption of New Technologies, Using Economic Evaluation. In: AJ. Culyer (ed.) Encyclopedia of Health Economics, Vol 1. San Diego: Elsevier, pp. 26-31.

Williams, I. (2011) Receptive contexts and the role of knowledge management in evidence-based practice. In J. Glasby (ed.) Evidence, Policy and Practice: critical perspectives in health and social care. Policy Press, Bristol pp.99-119.  

Williams, I. (2011) Allocating resources for health care: setting and managing priorities. In K. Walshe & J. Smith (eds.) Healthcare Management. (2nd ed) Open University Press/ McGraw Hill, Basingstoke.  

Williams, I. & Robinson, S. (2011) Priority setting and decision making. In J. Glasby (ed.) Commissioning for Health and Well-being: an introduction. Policy Press, Bristol.  


Professional journals  

Williams I, Harlock J, Robert G, Mannion R, Brearley S & Hall K. Decommissioning health care: identifying best practice through primary and secondary research a prospective mixed-methods study. Health Serv Deliv Res 2017;5(22)

Needham, C., Sawbridge, Y. And Williams, I. (2013), Tesco and Starbucks have little to teach the NHS. Health Service Journal.

Williams, I., Dickinson, H. & Robinson, S. (2011) Disinvestment: cutting with care. The Health Service Journal 121(6256): 24-25.  

Research reports  

Williams, I., Brown, H., Bovaird, T., Posaner, R. & Glasby, J. (2012) A review of the evidence to inform strategic commissioning in the London Borough of Newham, HSMC/London Borough of Newham.  

Bate, A., Donaldson, C., Hunter, D., McCafferty, S., Robinson, S. & Williams, I. (2011) Implementation of the World Class Commissioning Competencies: a survey and case-study evaluation. Research commissioned by Policy Research Programme at the UK Department of Health (Reference PR-PB-1007-10005).  

Robinson, S., Dickinson, H., Williams, I., Freeman, T., Rumbold, B. & Spence, K. (2011) Priority setting: an exploratory study of English Primary Care Trusts. Research report for the Nuffield Trust, UK.  

Williams, I. & Shearer, H. (2010) Public Value and the English NHS: a review of the literature. NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement/Warwick Business School, UK.  

View all publications in research portal


  • Setting priorities in health care
  • involving citizens and the public in health and social care decisions
  • the challenges of removing or replacing health care services and organisations
  • the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)
  • Health Care Commissioning