Posts Tagged ‘North Wales Hospital’

The North Wales Hospital under the National Health Service

July 4, 2018

The 5th July marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS) in Wales and England. Launched in 1948 the aim of the NHS, as set out in the National Health Service Act of 1946, was to promote ‘a comprehensive health service designed to secure improvement in the physical and mental health of the people of England and Wales and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness’.

The establishment of the NHS brought about many changes in the systems of health care. The records held in the North Wales Hospital collection document the handover of the hospital to the NHS, and provide an insight into the impact the new service had on the hospital.

The exterior of the hospital in 1948, photograph by Ronald Thompson.

From its opening in 1848 the North Wales Hospital was managed by a Committee of Visitors, made up of representatives from each of the five counties who financed the hospital. In 1948 the Committee of Visitors was disbanded and responsibility for the management of the hospital passed to the newly created Hospital Management Committee, whose members were appointed by the Welsh Regional Hospitals Board.

At the final meeting of the Committee of Visitors, which took place on 21st June 1948, its Chairman, Mr Alfred Hughes said “the committee could rejoice in the fact that they were handing over a hospital they were really proud of – one which the Ministry of Health had the previous week described as one of the best of its kind”.

Eight of the members from the former Committee of Visitors were elected to serve on the new committee, in order to ensure stability and consistency during a time of change. As well as the North Wales Hospital the new Hospital Management Committee was given the responsibility of managing the ‘Mental Deficiency’ Institutions of Coed Du, Broughton, Llwyn View in Dolgellau, Fronfraith and later Garth Angharad and Oakwood Park.

The first annual report of the new Hospital Management Committee, dated 1948 to 1949.

The establishment of the NHS centralised responsibility for the management of the hospital. Although the new Hospital Management Committee was allowed a degree of autonomy it was subject to regulations from the Minister of Health, and Regional Hospitals Board, with financial budgets now being decided by central government.

For more information about the history of the NHS in Wales visit:


Lindsey Sutton

Project Archivist (Unlocking the Asylum)

The North Wales Hospital Patient Index Update

May 22, 2018

We are pleased to announce an update to our online patient index for the North Wales Hospital.

The update contains the details of over 800 private patients admitted into the hospital between 1849 and 1914. The index has been created using the patient reception orders and builds on the pauper patient index which was released online in 2015. The database has been compiled through the hard work and dedication of volunteers, and we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to them for this addition to the online resource.


An example of one of the private patient reception orders, from which the information for the index was extracted.

The database includes details of patient number, name, date of admission, age on admission, date of discharge or death, occupation, and name of town. Unlike pauper patients, whose stay in the hospital was chargeable to a Poor Law Union, private patients and their families paid for their own maintenance. Whilst the medical treatment given did not differ from that given to pauper patients, being a private patient did afford some benefits. The private patient menu was the same as the staff menu, and private patients wards and day rooms were often more spacious, with some private patients been given their own room.

Out of the 829 private patient reception orders 45 are missing from the series up to December 1914 (5.42%). It is unclear why these records did not get transferred to the archives; some may simply have been lost or the records may have been transferred with the patient to other asylums across the country.

Although care was taken to avoid any mistakes being made, there may inevitably be some mistakes such as typing or transcription errors. We would strongly recommend consulting the original record either by requesting a copy or visiting our search room to confirm that all details are correct.

The index, along with further guidance can be found on the Denbighshire Archives website.