Local Health Services

Series on Health
July 1965

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The structure of the National Health Service today is tripartite in form. There is the Hospital Services sector accounting for about two thirds of the total cost; there is the General Medical and Pharmaceutical Services sector, which between them account for about one fifth of the total cost. The third major part of the National Health Service consists of the services provided by county councils and county boroughs in their role of Local Health Authorities which account for about one tenth of the total cost. Figure 1 depicts this organisation giving particular emphasis to the Local Authority sector. Distinctions between Local Authority duties as Health, Welfare, and Public Health Authority can vary according to the context, and are therefore often difficult to make. However, the general intention of this paper is to discuss that area of Local Authority responsibility delineated in the 1946 National Health Service Act, and by doing so perhaps to credit the Local Health Services with something more than the backroom status with which they are occasionally endowed in the public estimation of the National Health Service.