fonds NHS/YAG - York A Group Hospital Management Committee Archive

Identity area

Reference code



York A Group Hospital Management Committee Archive


  • 1948-1978 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1.5 cubic metres

58 boxes and 7 rolls

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

Under the National Health Service Act of 1946, which came into effect on 5 July 1948, a new comprehensive health service was created which had a tripartite structure. Family doctors and allied services were administered by executive councils. School and public health together with community services such as health visiting, domiciliary nursing, maternal and child welfare, ambulances and health centres were administered by local authorities. Hospitals were managed by hospital management committees under regional hospital boards. This tripartite structure remained in force until 1974.

14 regional hospital boards (later increased to 15) were created for England and Wales, each region including a teaching hospital. Members of regional hospital boards were appointed by the Minister of Health and were responsible for planning and various other tasks including the employment of doctors within the hospitals. Each regional board appointed a number of hospital management committees for its region. Hospital management committees were responsible for hospitals rather than for defined populations, and a committee might have a functional base (eg mental health) rather than a territorial one. Thus, the areas served by hospital management committees might overlap.

The members of regional hospital boards and of hospital management committees served voluntarily. Hospital management committees were composed of about a dozen members who usually had existing local interests or responsibilities.

Hospital management committees inherited a mixture of hospitals in 1948, some large, some small, some former voluntary (charitable) hospitals, others old poor law/public assistance infirmaries or local authority hospitals. Many hospitals were housed in unsuitable, crowded or outdated premises, often utilising large, formerly private houses, and requiring extensive alteration or urgent replacement. While the functions of hospitals might overlap, some community needs were inadequately met by existing services. In order to tackle such problems, the overriding aim was greater rationalisation of hospital buildings, services and staffing on the basis of function. But this was often frustrated or delayed by financial restraints.

York and its surrounding area came under Leeds Regional Hospital Board in 1948, local teaching facilities being based in Leeds. Two hospital management committees served the York area: York 'A' and Tadcaster HMC and York 'B' HMC.

The structure of York ‘B’ Group HMC

York 'B' Hospital Management Committee managed a group of mental health and mental handicap hospitals comprising Clifton Hospital near York, formerly the North Riding Mental Hospital, with its annexe East Ayton Lodge near Scarborough; Whixley Colony near Cattal, a mental deficiency colony formerly run by a Joint Board representing the County Boroughs of Hull, Leeds, Halifax, and York; and Claypenny Colony at Easingwold, a mental deficiency colony formerly run by the North Riding County Council.

The catchment area for the new group was not clearly defined: while the core area served by each institution coincided, each hospital in the past had served different populations and to some extent this continued to be the case. Clifton Hospital, for example, continued to take patients from the Newcastle Region for some years because of a lack of accommodation there. Each biennial report of the group contained a sketch map demonstrating the differing boundaries of population for each type of institution.

The headquarters of York 'B' Group was at Clifton Hospital. The secretary to the hospital management committee was the chief officer and in 1948 he also fulfilled the function of supplies officer, while the deputy secretary to the group was also the finance officer. Clifton Hospital was in the charge of a physician superintendent, and Claypenny and Whixley Colonies also had their separate superintendents.

Four standing subcommittees were established in 1948: Finance and General Purposes Subcommittee; Supplies Subcommittee; Farms (later Farms and Gardens) Subcommittee; and the Medical Advisory Subcommittee. In addition, two house committees were established, one to cover Whixley Colony and one for Claypenny Colony. The house committees not only oversaw the detailed and minor arrangements at the colonies, but also, more importantly, reviewed applications up to 1959 when the Mental Health Act made this work redundant.

After 1951, when three mental subnormality hostels at Bubwith, Ripon and Tadcaster were added to the group, a new Hostels Subcommittee was established. A Works and Engineering Subcommittee was also introduced in April 1953. In 1958-9 the Farms and Gardens and the Works and Engineering Subcommittees were combined to form the Estates Subcommittee. In 1966 Rawcliffe Hall Hospital at Goole joined the Group and a new house committee was set up to oversee the hospital.

Other subcommittees were set up to meet specific needs: for example, a Nursing Education Subcommittee was set up in December 1958, later followed by a Procedures Subcommittee. These oversaw the new nursing syllabus which was introduced at Clifton nurse training school in 1959. Another committee was set up with York 'A' Group in 1951: this Joint Liaison Committee oversaw the arrangements through which York 'A' Group made use of Clifton Hospital laundry. Joint consultative staffs committees for each hospital oversaw staff matters.

From 1 April 1968 the size of the hospital management committee was reduced to 20, and to 18 by 1970. From June 1968 the existing house committees were abolished. In place of house committees two liaison members were established for each of the main hospitals and their annexes. House visitors were also reorganised into four groups. In addition a new standing subcommittee was established: the Medical and Allied Services Subcommittee (replacing the Medical Advisory Subcommittee) which acted in an advisory capacity over all matters relating to patients' treatment. From 1968, therefore, there were three standing subcommittees: Finance and General Purposes, Medical and Allied Services, and Estates. This structure continued until the 1974 reorganisation.

York A Group Hospital Management Committee was replaced by the North Yorkshire Area Health Authority.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 1995 as part of the transfer of York Health Archives to the Institute from their temporary home at Clifton Hospital. A further addition was made to the archive in 2000, 2004 and 2005.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Administrative records, comprising Hospital Management Committee minutes, 1948-1974, Medical Committee minutes, 1972-1974, Finance Sub-Committee minutes, 1972-1974, Commissioning Committee for York District Hospital minutes, 1973-1977, Medical Executive Committee Minutes, 1970-1978, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Division minutes, 1969-1977, annual reports, 1948-1974, standing orders, 1961; York A Group Medical Records Services report, 1965, York A Group HMC policy and objectives, 1972-1973, typescript ‘Development of a New District General Hospital,’ 1963, group secretary’s files, 1966-1973, medical library files, 1960-1962, 1973, offprint copies of photographs appearing in York A Group annual reports, 1951-1957, newspaper cuttings books, 1970-1975; York Mental Health Service records, comprising reports, 1953-1957, and photographs and slides, 1956-1960s; land and buildings records, comprising maps and plans, 1948-1960s, and contracts registers, 1953-1961; financial records, comprising revenue account books, 1948-1977, losses and compensation register, 1949-1975, and salaries and wages books, 1949, 1963-1970; patient statistics, comprising annual statistics of bed complements, admissions, beds occupied, out-patients, and clinic sessions for hospitals under York A Group, 1952-1954.


Further accruals are not expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material, including slides.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

For related material held by the Borthwick Institute, see the individual archives of hospitals within York A Group, in particular the minutes of their House Committees. The Borthwick Institute holds the archives of Acomb Maternity Hospital, Bootham Park Hospital, City Hospital, Deighton Grove Hospital, Fairfield Hospital, Fulford and Maternity Hospitals, Lambert Memorial Hospital, Naburn Hospital, Selby War Memorial Hospital, St Mary's Hospital, St Monica's Hospital, and York County Hospital.

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion



  • English



Accession area