National Health Service Act 1946

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1946 c. 81


National Health Service Act, 1946

(9 & 10 Geo. 6.) CHAPTER 81.

An Act to provide for the establishment of a comprehensive health service for England and Wales, and for purposes connected therewith.

[6th November 1946]

B E it enacted by the King's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Central Administration.

Part I.

Central Administration.

S-1 Duty of Minister.

1 Duty of Minister.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Minister of Health (hereafter in this Act referred to as ‘the Minister’) to promote the establishment in England and Wales of a comprehensive health service designed to secure improvement in the physical and mental health of the people of England and Wales and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness, and for that purpose to provide or secure the effective provision of services in accordance with the following provisions of this Act.

(2) The services so provided shall be free of charge, except where any provision of this Act expressly provides for the making and recovery of charges.

S-2 Central Health Services Council and Standing Advisory Committees.

2 Central Health Services Council and Standing Advisory Committees.

(1) There shall be constituted in accordance with the First Schedule to this Act a council, to be called the Central Health Services Council and hereafter in this Act referred to as ‘the Central Council’, and it shall be the duty of the Central Council to advise the Minister upon such general matters relating to the services provided under this Act, or any services provided by local health authorities in their capacity as such authorities, as the Council think fit and upon any questions referred to them by him relating to those services.

(2) The Minister may, after consultation with the Central Council, by order vary the constitution of that Council.

(3) The Minister may, after consultation with the Central Council, by order constitute standing advisory committees for the purpose of advising him and the Central Council on such of the services aforesaid as may be specified in the order, and any committee constituted under this subsection shall consist partly of members of the Central Council appointed by the Minister after consultation with that Council as being persons of experience in those services and partly of persons, whether members of the Central Council or not, appointed by the Minister after consultation with such representative organisations as the Minister may recognise for the purpose.

(4) It shall be the duty of a standing advisory committee constituted under this section to advise the Minister and the Central Council upon such matters relating to the services with which the committee are concerned as they think fit and upon any questions referred to them by the Minister or Central Council relating to those services, and, if the committee advise the Minister upon any matter, they shall inform the Central Council, who may express their views thereon to the Minister.

(5) The Central Council shall make an annual report to the Minister on their proceedings and on the proceedings of any standing advisory committee constituted under this section, and the Minister shall lay that report before Parliament with such comments (if any) as he thinks fit:

Provided that, if the Minister, after consultation with the Central Council, is satisfied that it would be contrary to the public interest to lay any such report, or a part of any such report, before Parliament, he may refrain from laying that report or part.

(6) The supplementary provisions contained in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect in relation to the Central council and any standing advisory committee constituted under this section.

II Hospital and Specialist Services.

Part II.

Hospital and Specialist Services.

Provision of Services by Minister.

Provision of Services by Minister.

S-3 Provision of hospital and specialist services.

3 Provision of hospital and specialist services.

(1) As from the appointed day, it shall be the duty of the Minister to provide throughout England and Wales, to such extent as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements, accommodation and services of the following descriptions, that is to say:—

(a ) hospital accommodation;

(b ) medical, nursing and other services required at or for the purposes of hospitals;

(c ) the services of specialists, whether at a hospital, a health centre provided under Part III of this Act or a clinic or, if necessary on medical grounds, at the home of the patient;

and any accommodation and services provided under this section are in this Act referred to as ‘hospital and specialist services’.

(2) Regulations may provide for the making and recovery by the Minister of such charges as may be prescribed—

(a ) in respect of the supply, as part of the hospital and specialist services, of any appliance which is, at the request of the person supplied, of a more expensive type than the prescribed type, or in respect of the replacement or repair of any such appliance; or

(b ) in respect of the replacement or repair of any appliance supplied as part of the services aforesaid, if it is determined in the prescribed manner that the replacement or repair is necessitated by lack of care on the part of the person supplied.

(3) Regulations may provide for the payment by the Minister, in such cases as may be prescribed, of travelling expenses (including the travelling expenses of a companion) incurred or to be incurred by persons for the purpose of availing themselves of hospital and specialist services.

S-4 Accommodation available on part payment.

4 Accommodation available on part payment.

4. Where there is provided in any hospital, as part of the hospital and specialist services, accommodation in single rooms or small wards, the Minister may make any such accommodation, which is not for the time being needed by any patient on medical grounds, available for patients who undertake, or in respect of whom an undertaking is given, to pay for the accommodation such charges, designed to cover part of the cost thereof, as may be determined in the prescribed manner, and the Minister may recover those charges.

S-5 Accommodation for private patients.

5 Accommodation for private patients.

(1) If the Minister, having regard to his duty to provide hospital and specialist services, is satisfied that it is reasonable so to do, he may set aside in any hospital providing such services special accommodation for patients who undertake, or in respect of whom an undertaking is given, to pay such charges as may be determined in the prescribed manner, being charges designed to cover the whole cost of the accommodation and services provided for the patient at the hospital, including an appropriate amount in respect of overhead expenses, and the Minister may recover those charges:

Provided that nothing in this section shall prevent accommodation so set aside from being made available for any patient who urgently needs that accommodation on medical grounds and for whom suitable accommodation is not otherwise available.

(2) The Minister may allow any medical practitioner serving, whether in an honorary or paid capacity, on the staff of a hospital providing hospital and specialist services to make arrangements for the treatment of his private patients either at that hospital or at any other such hospital, and may make available for that purpose the special accommodation aforesaid, and in that case the charges prescribed under the last foregoing subsection shall not include the cost of any services rendered by the medical practitioner, and regulations may prescribe the maximum charges to be made and recovered by any such medical practitioner in respect of the treatment of his private patients under this subsection.

Transfer of hospitals to the Minister.

S-6 Transfer of hospitals to the Minster.

6 Transfer of hospitals to the Minster.

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, there shall, on the appointed day, be transferred to and vest in the Minister by virtue of this Act all interests in or attaching to premises forming part of a voluntary hospital or used for the purposes of a voluntary hospital, and in equipment, furniture or other movable property used in or in connection with such premises, being interests held immediately before the appointed day by the governing body of the hospital or by trustees solely for the purposes of that hospital, and all rights and liabilities to which any such governing body or trustees were entitled or subject immediately before the appointed day, being rights and liabilities acquired or incurred solely for the purposes of managing any such premises or property as aforesaid or otherwise carrying on the business of the hospital or any part thereof, but not including any endowment within the meaning of the next following section or any rights or liabilities transferred under that section.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, there shall also, on the appointed day, be transferred to and vest in the Minister by virtue of this Act all hospitals vested in a local authority immediately before the appointed day, and all property and liabilities held by a local authority, or to which a local authority were subject, immediately before the appointed day, being property and liabilities held or incurred solely for the purposes of those hospitals or any of them or for the purpose of securing accommodation for persons in the area at any hospital not vested in the authority.

(3) If it appears to the Minister that, in...

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