District health authority

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A district health authority was an administrative territorial entity of the National Health Service in England and Wales introduced by the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973.

There are district health authorities in the Canadian health system. See Health care in Canada.

District health authorities existed in Britain from 1974 to 1996. There were 205 when they were established in 1974, but some were later amalgamated. In 1979 there were 199.[1]

The districts were a third tier below the regional health authority and the area health authority (which generally corresponded to non-metropolitan counties, metropolitan boroughs or groups of London boroughs) and the district management teams that ran the hospitals on a day-to-day basis.[2] The most common complaint in evidence about the reorganisation of the NHS made to the Royal Commission on the National Health Service in 1979 was that it added an extra and unnecessary tier of management.[3]

The district health authority worked alongside a Family Health Services Authority, which was responsible for managing primary care services such as general practice, pharmacy and dentistry.[4]

The districts were reorganised on a number of occasions in the 1990s. In 1996 new single-tier health authorities replaced districts and areas and the regions were again reorganised. In 2002 Health Authorities were replaced by Primary Care Trusts.

See List of district health authorities in England and Wales.


  1. ^ Webster, Charles (1996). The Health Services Since the War. HMSO. p. 538. ISBN 0 11 630963 6. 
  2. ^ National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 (1973 c.32)
  3. ^ Royal Commission on the NHS Chapter 4. HMSO. July 1979. ISBN 0101761503. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "The changing role of health authorities". BBC News. 20 September 1999. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 

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