E Bream, AK Jha, AM Epstein, N Black
Journal Issue: 
Volume 43: Issue 3: 2013



Objective: To describe the views of the chairs of Scottish health boards on the engagement of their boards with healthcare quality and to compare them with the views of the chairs of boards of English acute trusts. The focus of the Scottish Health Boards is on providing and commissioning care, while in England the acute trusts only provide care.

Methods: We mailed a questionnaire, based on one used in England, to the 14 health board chairs in NHS Scotland in January 2011. The results were compared with the results of a similar questionnaire given to English acute trust chairs in 2009.

Results: Most chairs in Scotland (67%) prioritised oversight of quality. Quality is considered at most Board meetings (92%), taking over 20% of time for 69% of chairs. Most boards have local quality targets and feedback quality data to staff. Compared with England, boards in Scotland meet less frequently and focus less on quality (shorter discussions, less frequent data review, fewer local targets) but they are more optimistic about their board’s performance.

Conclusions: Although most chairs of Scottish boards view quality as a priority, they pay less attention to it than chairs in England, possibly due to their additional role in commissioning care.

Keywords Delivery of healthcare, governing board, quality of healthcare