The Bonham-Carter report

The Central Health Services Council established a committee in 1966, chaired by Sir Desmond Bonham-Carter, to review the role of district general hospitals in the NHS.

The committee reported back in 1969. It reiterated the hospital plan's definition of a district general hospital as a hospital that brought together a wide range of diagnostic and treatment facilities for inpatients and outpatients, but had reservations as to the population size that should be served.

It felt that district general hospitals should be expanded to serve 300,000 people in large cities and conurbations, and most others should serve a population of 200,000.

The committee was against the development of separate hospitals for groups such as children, women or any other single speciality hospitals. It deemed it logical to have these services based in district general hospitals.

Furthermore, the committee disagreed with the hospital plan's intention to only partially integrate mental illness and geriatric hospital services. It recommended the closure of all such existing separate hospitals.

The committee also recommended the closure of those hospitals which were within close distance to a general district hospital. Small hospitals in remote areas should also be closed, according to the committee, because they were felt to be underused.


Department of Health and Social Security: Welsh Office.
The functions of the district general hospital.
Her Majesty's Stationery Office; 1969.