National Health Service

Before the National Health Service (NHS) was established (Act 1946, in effect on 5 July 1948) there were two types of hospital in the country, local authority and voluntary. The former were administered by the council’s health committees and hospitals committees, the latter by their individual boards of governors.

Under the NHS, the voluntary hospitals in Sheffield were brought together into one administrative unit known as The United Sheffield Hospitals.

The local authority hospitals were placed under the management of the newly created Sheffield Regional Hospital Board and were administered in groups by Hospital Management Committees.

This continued until 1974, when the NHS was reorganised with the aim of bringing together hospital and community health services. Regional hospital boards and hospital management committees were abolished and replaced by regional health authorities under which were area health authorities.

Sheffield (Teaching) Area Health Authority (AHA) with 3 district management teams was established, as was Barnsley AHA, both ultimately administered by Trent Regional Health Authority. Community Health Councils were established.

Further restructuring of the NHS in 1982 abolished one tier of management and the AHA disappeared, with the Health Authority (HA) becoming the body responsible for hospitals’ administration. HA's themselves were reconstituted in 1996 when they merged with Family Health Services Committees, the successors to the Family Practitioner Committees.

Further reorganisation ensued in 2002. Existing HA's were abolished and South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA), one of 28 in England, was set up with the remit of managing the NHS locally.

Within the SHA the NHS was split into a number of Trusts, including Primary Care Trusts (in effect, small health authorities), to provide health care at the first point of request.

In 2006 the 28 SHA's merged to form 10 new ones: Yorkshire and the Humber SHA was created to provide best value in developing plans to improve health services and integrate national priorities into local health plans. Our records date back to 1948 to date. 

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Location of records

Sheffield Archives, though printed annual and other reports are also available at Sheffield Local Studies Library.

Ordering documents

Not all archive material is stored onsite and we may require notice of the items you wish to see. Please contact us to confirm when we can retrieve items for you.

Please note, however, that access to some records may be restricted under the Data Protection Act and may also be subject to exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act.

Please contact us for further details.


We can normally supply copies for private study purposes, subject to the usual copyright and access restrictions. Please contact us for further information.


The main series of health authority records include:

  • Sheffield City Council health committee minutes, 1849-1974; hospitals committee minutes, 1881-1927
  • United Sheffield Hospitals: governors’ minutes, committee minutes and reports, 1948-1974
  • Sheffield Regional Hospital Board: minutes, committee minutes, accounts and reports, 1947-1974
  • Sheffield Hospital Management Committee: minutes, 1948-1974
  • Sheffield (Area) Health Authority: minutes, 1973-1999
  • Sheffield Community Health Council: minutes and reports, 1974-2002
  • Trent Regional Health Authority: minutes, financial papers, correspondence files, plans of hospitals, 1974-1996

Original paper records.

Contact the Archives and Local Studies Library

First Floor, Central Library
Surrey Street
S1 1XZ
0114 203 9395 (Sat, Mon, Tues)
0114 273 4753 (Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat)