Griffiths Report
Last Updated: March, 2019
Health Care Supermarket?

In 1983, at the height of the Thatcher administration, Roy Griffiths (Director and Deputy Chair of the Sainbury's supermarket chain from 1968-1991) was asked to write a report on NHS management. The Griffiths Report constituted just 24 pages of assertions without any supporting evidence and called for major change recommending that the Secretary of State for Health should set up a Health Services Supervisory Board and a full-time NHS Management Board within the Department of Health and Social Security. In addition it suggested that general managers should be introduced throughout the NHS at a local level.

This was a move away from the old management structure, and began the process of replacing administrators steeped in the values of the NHS with managers who might be drawn from outside the NHS including the private sector.

The number of general or senior managers in the NHS rose from 1-thousand in 1986 to 26-thousand in 1995, and the total of NHS spending consumed by administration more than doubled. This culture-change also had the effect of starting the NHS down a path of seeing itself as a business.

The report also called for GPs to get more involved in budgeting and commissioning of services - a trend which eventually led to the 'white paper'  Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS  in 2010.

Roy Griffiths was awarded a knighthood in 1985 for his 'services' to the NHS.

Griffiths was not the last supermarket manager commissioned by the Government to plan changes of management within the NHS.