Sir Nick Black


of Health Services Research

Room 121

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

020 7927 2228

After qualifying in medicine from Birmingham University in 1974, I worked in NHS hospitals before joining Save the Children Fund (UK) and running a child health programme in Nepal. I then trained in public health in Oxford, undertaking a doctorate on the reasons for the epidemic of surgery for glue ear in the UK. The next three years were spent half time as a lecturer at the Open University writing a new distance-learning course 'Health & Disease' with a biologist, sociologist and economist, and half time as a Consultant in Public Health for Oxfordshire Health Authority. In 1985 I moved to a Senior Lectureship at the LSHTM, set up what is now the Department of Health Services Research & Policy in 1988 (which I headed for five years) and was promoted to a Chair in Health Services Research in 1995. I was Dean of Faculty from 1998 to 2003. In 1996, together with Nicholas Mays, I established the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy which we edited jointly until 2017. I was elected and served as the first Chair of the UK Health Services Research Network from 2005-8. I chaired the National Advisory Group for Clinical Audit & Enquiries from 2008-16, providing advice to the DH and NHS England, and have served on several other national and international advisory bodies on quality assessment and improvement, playing a leading role in the adoption of patient reported outcome measures. In 2017 I was awarded a knighthood for services to healthcare research.

In 2022 I published my first novel, The Honourable Doctor, details of which appear on my website, .


Faculty of Public Health and Policy
Department of Health Services Research and Policy


My principal Masters' teaching contribution is as organiser of the Health Services module. During 2003-6 I led the development of the new distance learning version of the MSc Public Health, acting as co-editor of the series of 20 books and co-author of two of them.


My main research interests have been on the assessment of the quality of health care and the performance of health care providers particuarly in the fields of surgery, critical care and dementia care. Work on performance assessment has involved methodological interest in the use of non-randomised data for evaluative research and the use of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs). 

My current interests focus on how health and care systems can be transformed with a particular focus on the development of systems thinking and the encouragement of local creativity. In March 2018 I gave the Annual Health Services Research Lecture entitled Relman revisited: the dawn of the era of systems and creativity

I am also interested in the contribution that history can (and should) make to contemporary health care policy debates and to public understanding of health care. This has resulted in a book of walks, Walking London's Medical History, and a GPS guided walk, perfect for those interested in the history of health care, architecture and walking in London.

Research Area
Clinical databases
Health care policy
Health outcomes
Health services research
Health status measurement
Health systems
Organisational research
Quality improvement
Research : policy relationship
Evidence use
Health services
Public understanding
United Kingdom
OECD members

Selected Publications

Cost-effectiveness analysis of English memory assessment services 2 years after first consultation for patients with dementia.
Gomes M; Pennington M; Black N; Smith S
International journal of geriatric psychiatry
How do aggregated patient-reported outcome measures data stimulate health care improvement? A realist synthesis.
Greenhalgh J; Dalkin S; Gibbons E; Wright J; Valderas JM; Meads D; Black N
Journal of health services research & policy
From cutting costs to eliminating waste: reframing the challenge.
Black N
Journal of health services research & policy
To do the service no harm: the dangers of quality assessment.
Black N
Journal of health services research & policy
Chief Quality Officers can reimagine the NHS we need.
Black N
Health Services Journal
Assessing the quality of hospitals.
Black N
BMJ (Clinical research ed.)
Health services research: the gradual encroachment of ideas.
Black N
Journal of health services research & policy
See more Publications