The NHS Reorganisation Act 1973 created a tier of 90 area health authorities (AHAs), which were responsible for the planning and delivery of healthcare services. Regional health authorities and AHAs replaced regional hospital boards and hospital management committees and were structured so that they were co-terminous with local authorities. It was at district level that the work of hospital management was done, creating an additional administrative tier.
AHAs were also required to set up family practitioner committees (FPCs), which would be responsible for general medical services (as well as dental, pharmaceutical and ophthalmic services).
AHAs acted as a unifier in the tripartite NHS system and planned health services in collaboration with local authorities. However, AHAs were replaced by 192 district health authorities in 1982.