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Accountants in the hospital: a hidden professional group

Project Description

Healthcare has long been a large segment of national economies, with it typically representing 10% of the GDP of economies in the developed world. Despite this, relatively little effort has been made to understand the role of accountants in this sector, particularly given their crucial role in the operation of large institutions like hospitals. This is even more true when it comes to understanding their role in a historical context. The number of studies in both the accounting history and wider historical literature that deal with the subject of hospital finance and accounting in the UK can be numbered in the tens, rather than hundreds and when it comes specifically to an examination of the development of the role of accountants in the hospital setting there is no single study that deals with any segment of the almost 300 years of modern general hospital activity in the UK. The reason for this may be that, in the hospital more so than in business organisations, those that generate the outputs of the organisation (the doctors) attract more attention than those that administer and manage them. Nevertheless, the administration and the role of accountants within it is no less important in hospitals than it is in any other large organisation. Historical studies, particularly in sensitive settings such as hospitals, typically can get access to a higher quality and greater depth of archival data than can be achieved in a contemporary study. Therefore, this project will seek to explore the development of the role of hospital accountants in the period around the formation of the National Health service in the UK. UK hospital and healthcare archives of this period are both extensive and accessible and will provide a sound underpinning for the study. Outputs will provide a greater understanding of the foundational organisation of the NHS and the power structures that existed between accountants and other professional groups. Such an improved understanding can also potentially provide a greater basis for the comprehension of contemporary structural and managerial issues in the hospital setting.

Funding Notes

The Elphinstone Scholarship covers payment of tuition fees at the appropriate rate per annum for the 3 years of supervised study.

Candidates should apply for a PhD place in the normal way, stating:
o ‘Elphinstone PhD Scholarship’ in the Intended Source of Funding section
o The name of the lead supervisor in the Name of Proposed Supervisor section
o The title of the specific research project (subject to any agreed modifications in discussion with the lead supervisor) in the Outline
Summary section
o Within their project proposal, how they intend to address the specific project title.

Related Subjects

How good is research at Aberdeen University in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 13.30

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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