Supporting NHS providers to improve diversity in their boards

This report of our survey findings provides the first national snapshot of the make-up and diversity of NHS provider boards.

Based on over 2,500 individual responses, these are the findings of the first comprehensive, national survey of NHS provider boards, conducted in 2017. They will help focus efforts to improve diversity where it is most needed, recognise patterns of leadership, and support better understanding of the nature and diversity of board membership in the NHS.

The survey asked board members to provide information about themselves, including six key protected characteristics (gender, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious belief) and their roles.

We plan to refresh the data in early 2019. We also plan to include some of the anonymised data on the Model Hospital so that individual boards can find out how they compare against other NHS providers and the national picture.

If you have any questions about the survey please email

Measuring and publishing how diverse our boards are is an important step in improving the diversity of our senior leadership teams.

Baroness Dido Harding, Chair, NHS Improvement

The national picture in 2017

The average NHS provider board has eight men and six women, one member from a black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME) community and one disabled person.

43%: proportion of women on NHS provider trust boards
77%: proportion of  women in the NHS workforce

7.7%:  proportion of NHS provider board members from BAME communities
17.7%: people from BAME communities in the NHS workforce

5.3%: proportion of board members identifying themselves with a disability
17.6% of the general population make the same declaration

We respect individuals’ privacy and are committed to protecting personal data. Information about how we use and store personal date is available in our privacy notice. Here is more detailed information about how we use and process data about members of NHS provider boards.

We’re always on the lookout for talented people for our chair and non-executive director (NED) roles. While re-appointments are common, service in the role beyond six years is relatively infrequent as it may compromise a NED’s independence.

If you know of anyone with the skills and experience necessary to be an effective chair or non-executive director, please encourage them to contact us at

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