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Professor Nick Black has been knighted in the New Year Honours list for his services to healthcare research.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Professor Black has spearheaded the development of health services research in the UK. A leading voice in the debate on NHS reforms, his research has focussed on surgical and critical care, with recent work on healthcare quality and the effectiveness of healthcare providers directly influencing how the NHS evaluates its performance, in particular patient outcomes.
After qualifying in medicine from Birmingham University in 1974, Nick Black’s roles included working for NHS hospitals and Save the Children Fund (UK), as well as undertaking a doctorate at the University of Oxford. In 1985 he joined the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and n 1988 formed what is now the Department of Health Services Research & Policy, which he led for the first five years.
His early work focussed on using patients’ reports of their outcomes to evaluate the quality of surgical care in the UK. In 1999 he established the National Coordinating Centre for Service Delivery and Organisation R&D at the School and founded, with Professor Nick Mays, the Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. This has become the leading health services research and policy journal outside the USA.
In 2005, Professor Black was elected inaugural chair of the UK Health Services Research Network, the first national representative body for health services research in the UK. Since then, with colleagues at the School, he has influenced national policy in the NHS on the routine use of patient reported outcome measures to assess healthcare quality, and challenged the value of hospital death rates as an indicator of safe care.
In 2008, he was appointed the founding chair of the National Advisory Group for Clinical Audit & Enquiries which provided policy and strategic advice on clinical audit to the NHS and the Department of Health.
Sir Nick Black, Professor of Health Services Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "I’m surprised, delighted and honoured. My personal contribution has only been possible because of the strength and depth in health services research and healthcare policy work focused on the UK that has been created here in the School.”
Professor Peter Piot, Director of the School, said: “Many congratulations to Nick on receiving this thoroughly deserved recognition. His tireless work and expertise has meant health services research is now a fully-fledged academic area in the UK. This has resulted in crucial research evidence which has had an immediate impact on NHS services.”