National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973

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National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973
Long titleAn Act to make further provision with respect to the national health service in England and Wales and amendments of the enactments relating to the national health service in Scotland; and for purposes connected with those matters.
Citation1973 c. 32
Introduced byLord Aberdare
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom
Royal assent5 July 1973
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from
Revised text of statute as amended

The National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The purpose of the Act was to reorganise the National Health Service.

The Act also established the posts of Health Service Commissioner for England and Wales. Separate legislation was passed establishing the post in Scotland; the provisions of the Act relating to the Health Service Commissioners have largely been replaced by the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993.

The National Health Service had been excluded from the remit of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration when the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 became law.

The impetus for the establishment of a Health Ombudsman arose from growing dissatisfaction with the quality of service in the NHS through the 1960s; this was encapsulated by scandals about the care provided to the elderly and mentally ill at Ely Hospital in Cardiff, Farleigh Hospital in Bristol and Whittingham Hospital near Preston. Hospitals were free to determine their own complaints procedures for the investigation of complaints, subject only to guidance by the Ministry of Health; the Davies Report, published in 1973, criticised the complaints system then in place. The Government announced in 1972 that it intended to establish a Health Service Ombudsman and that this was to be at the apex of the NHS complaints system.

Provisions establishing the posts were not extensively discussed in debate in the House of Commons, indicating the consensus of opinion around their establishment.[1]


  1. ^ The Ombudsman, Citizen and Parliament, Gregory and Giddings (London, 2002), p515