The outcome of the Patients First consultation was the Health Services Act 1980, which provided for structural reorganisation of the NHS in 1982. The act enabled the Secretary of State for Social Services to establish district health authorities (DHAs) and specified that regional areas did not need to be based around area health authorities. In effect, the DHAs would replace the area health authorities and their district management teams. Co-terminosity with local authorities was no longer preeminent and DHAs resembled the old single-district areas and comprised natural communities. The planning system was made more flexible, which was essential during an economically difficult period.
Prime Minister: Margaret Thatcher
Health and Social Services Minister: Patrick Jenkin