Prof Sir Nick Black

Emeritus Professor of Health Services Research

United Kingdom

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, .


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


Despite retirement, I continue to teach on the Health Services module for the Masters' programme.


My main research interests were 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 involved methodological interest in the use of non-randomised data for evaluative research and the use of patient reported outcome measures (PROMs).

Other interests focused 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 interested in the contribution that history can (and should) make to contemporary health care policy debates and to public understanding of health care. This resulted in a book of walks, Walking London's Medical History, and two GPS guided walks, perfect for those interested in the history of health care, architecture and walking in London.
Research Area
History of medicine
United Kingdom

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.
Journal of health services research & policy
Avoidability of hospital deaths and association with hospital-wide mortality ratios: retrospective case record review and regression analysis.
BMJ (Clinical research ed)
To do the service no harm: the dangers of quality assessment.
Journal of health services research & policy
Chief Quality Officers can reimagine the NHS we need.
Health Services Journal
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