Around the world clinical professionals have increased their involvement in the management of health services. However the evidence to suggest that these changes will lead to improved performance remains fragmented. In this paper we address this matter focussing on the impact of clinicians appointed to the boards of directors of English NHS hospital trusts. Although the number of clinicians involved in the strategic governance of hospital trusts is relatively low by international standards, they do appear to have an impact on overall performance. Drawing on published information from hospital trust annual reports, publicly available performance measures from the Healthcare Commission and data gathered by Dr Foster over a three year period (2006–9), the paper reports two main findings. First, the analysis reveals a significant and positive association between a higher percentage of clinicians on boards and the quality ratings of service providers, especially where doctors are concerned. This positive influence is also confirmed in relation to lower morbidity rates and tests to exclude the possibility of reverse causality (doctors joining boards of already successful organisations). Second, we do not find the same level of support for clinical professions such as nurses and other allied health professions turned directors.