This study of the reorganised National Health Service is divided into two papers. The first describes the new structure and the management concepts on which it was based and the second examines the progress of and the criticisms made about the NHS since 1974. They were designed to complement one another although readers already familiar with the health service’s administrative format may prefer to confine their attention to the latter study.

For the sake of simplicity both papers refer mainly to the circumstances of the NHS in England. However, some of the more significant characteristics of the health service in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are also examined.