Dissemination, Science

Exploring the role of community hospitals & patient experience

Professor Jon Glasby, and a team of Researchers from the University of Birmingham, have led one of the first major studies to explore the role of community hospitals, patient experience and the relationship these hospitals have with their local communities.

Although previous studies have suggested a link between the history of place, hospital, health and community through the study of individual cases, or in other countries, this latest research, funded by the NIHR, is the first to demonstrate these findings across multiple community hospitals in England.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Birmingham, featured three phases, beginning with national mapping and construction of a new database of community hospitals through dataset reconciliation and verification.

The second phase involved nine case studies, including interviews and focus groups with patients, carers, staff, volunteers, community stakeholders and managers and commissioners. The final phase three involved analysis of Charity Commission data on voluntary support.

The study concluded that community hospitals represented a significant community asset, with a strong sense of community ownership.  Their provision of local, accessible health and social care services has significance, particularly in more isolated rural communities.

Professor Glasby said “Our study shows how community hospitals are contributing to ‘community value’ through important functions within the communities in which they serve. Their provision of local, accessible, integrated health and social care services has an important practical and symbolic significance, particularly in more isolated rural communities.”


The study was funded by the NIHR’s Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR) Programme.

More information on the research is available on the NIHR Journals Library website.

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