National Health Service Act 1977

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1977 c. 49


National Health ServiceAct 1977

1977 CHAPTER 49

An Act to consolidate certain provisions relating to the health service for England and Wales; and to repeal certain enactments relating to the health service which have ceased to have any effect.

[29th July 1977]

B e it enacted by the Queen'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 Services and Administration

Part I

Services and Administration

Functions of the Secretary of State

Functions of the Secretary of State

S-1 Secretary of State's duty as to health service.

1 Secretary of State's duty as to health service.

(1) It is the Secretary of State's duty to continue the promotion in England and Wales of a comprehensive health service designed to secure improvement—

( a ) in the physical and mental health of the people of those countries, and

( b ) in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness,

and for that purpose to provide or secure the effective provision of services in accordance with this Act.

(2) The services so provided shall be free of charge except in so far as the making and recovery of charges is expressly provided for by or under any enactment, whenever passed.

S-2 Secretary of State's general power as to services.

2 Secretary of State's general power as to services.

Without prejudice to the Secretary of State's powers apart from this section, he has power—

a ) to provide such services as he considers appropriate for the purpose of discharging any duty imposed on him by this Act; and
b ) to do any other thing whatsoever which is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the discharge of such a duty

This section is subject to section 3(3) below.

S-3 Services generally.

3 Services generally.

(1) It is the Secretary of State's duty to provide throughout England and Wales, to such extent as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements—

( a ) hospital accommodation;

( b ) other accommodation for the purpose of any service provided under this Act;

( c ) medical, dental, nursing and ambulance services;

( d ) such other facilities for the care of expectant and nursing mothers and young children as he considers are appropriate as part of the health service;

( e ) such facilities for the prevention of illness, the care of persons suffering from illness and the after-care of persons who have suffered from illness as he considers are appropriate as part of the health service;

( f ) such other services as are required for the diagnosis and treatment of illness.

(2) Where any hospital provided by the Secretary of State in accordance with this Act was a voluntary hospital transferred by virtue of the National Health Service Act 1946 , and—

( a ) the character and associations of that hospital before its transfer were such as to link it with a particular religious denomination, then

( b ) regard shall be had in the general administration of the hospital to the preservation of that character and those associations.

(3) Nothing in section 2 above or in this section affects the provisions of Part II of this Act (which relates to arrangements with practitioners for the provision of medical, dental, ophthalmic and pharmaceutical services).

S-4 Special hospitals.

4 Special hospitals.

The duty imposed on the Secretary of State by section 1 above to provide services for the purposes of the health service includes a duty to provide and maintain establishments (in this Act referred to as ‘special hospitals’) for persons subject to detention under the Mental Health Act 1959who in his opinion require treatment under conditions of special security on account of their dangerous, violent or criminal propensities.

S-5 Other services.

5 Other services.

(1) It is the Secretary of State's duty—

( a ) to provide for the medical and dental inspection at appropriate intervals of pupils in attendance at schools maintained by local education authorities and for the medical and dental treatment of such pupils (and the additional provisions set out in Schedule 1 to this Act have effect in relation to this paragraph);

( b ) to arrange, to such extent as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements in England and Wales, for the giving of advice on contraception, the medical examination of persons seeking advice on contraception, the treatment of such persons and the supply of contraceptive substances and appliances.

(2) The Secretary of State may—

( a ) provide invalid carriages for persons appearing to him to be suffering from severe physical defect or disability and, at the request of such a person, may provide for him a vehicle other than an invalid carriage (and the additional provisions set out in Schedule 2 to this Act have effect in relation to this paragraph);

( b ) arrange to provide accommodation and treatment outside Great Britain for persons suffering from respiratory tuberculosis;

( c ) provide a microbiological service, which may include the provision of laboratories, for the control of the spread of infectious diseases (and the Secretary of State may allow persons to use services provided at such laboratories on such terms, including terms as to charges, as he thinks fit);

( d ) conduct, or assist by grants or otherwise (without prejudice to the general powers and duties conferred on him under the Ministry of Health Act 1919 ) any person to conduct, research into any matters relating to the causation, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness, and into any such other matters connected with any service provided under this Act as he considers appropriate.

(3) Regulations may provide for the payment by the Secretary of State 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 any services provided under this Act.

(4) The Public Health...

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