Records of Western Regional Hospital Board, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Statistics and financial papers, 1968-1971;
  • Minutes and related papers, 1948-1974;
  • Agendas and related papers, 1965-1974;
  • Chairman's visits, 1963-1973;
  • Secretariat files, 1947-1972;
  • Circulars received, 1947-1979;
  • Maps and plans, 1948-1967;
  • Infectious Diseases hospitals annual reports, 1951-1972;
  • Work study / O&M reports, 1961-1972;
  • Hospital surveys and development reports, 1964-1967;
  • Annual reports of WRHB, 1948-1973;
  • Miscellaneous publications of WRHB, 1963-1971;
  • Publications of other bodies, 1957-1970;
  • Press cuttings, 1948-1960;
  • Files outwith Secretariat series, 1951-1973;
  • Composition of and appointments to Boards of Management, 1948-1974.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Western Regional Hospital Board [WRHB] was the largest of the five Scottish regional boards set up under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act of 1947. From 5 July 1948 the WRHB was responsible for all NHS hospital services in the City of Glasgow and the counties of Argyll, Ayr, Clackmannan, Dumfries, Dunbarton, Kirkcudbright, Lanark, Renfrew, Stirling and Wigton - an area containing half of the population of Scotland. It took over the buildings, staff and assets of what had previously been voluntary or local authority hospitals.

The principal functions of the WRHB may be summarised under the following broad headings:

  • 1) Strategic management. For much of its existence the Board was handicapped in the execution of its strategic management role by an acute shortage of funds. Nonetheless, it did have some capital to invest in the creation of new units and upgrading and modernisation of existing ones. As part of its strategic role it created a number of regional specialist centres in such disciplines as plastic surgery and urology.
  • 2) Audit. In addition to a straightfoward auditing of accounts to ensure proper standards of probity, the WRHB promoted economical purchasing arrangements, best practice in administration and procedural codification and standardisation.
  • 3) Medical education. The Scottish regional boards, unlike their English and Welsh counterparts, were responsible for teaching hospitals. The WRHB worked closely with the University of Glasgow and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in order to ensure that the necessary day-to-day arrangements for medical teaching were secured and, more broadly, to promote the adoption of new techniques and equipment so as to maintain the standard of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.
  • 4) Appointments. The WRHB was responsible for the appointment of lay people to serve on hospital Boards of Management: it was guided in its choice by general criteria under which employers organisations, trade unions, local authorities and others were invited to make nominations. It also oversaw the appointment of medical and administrative staff, generally taking an active role only in respect of the most senior appointments.

On vesting day in 1948 there were 37 hospital Boards of Management in the WRHB's area. They were:

  • Glasgow Western Hospitals
  • Glasgow and District Children's Hospitals
  • Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Associated Hospitals
  • Glasgow Maternity and Women's Hospitals
  • Glasgow Northern Hospitals
  • Glasgow Homeopathic Hospitals
  • Glasgow Dental Hospital and School
  • Glasgow Victoria Hospitals
  • Glasgow South-Western Hospitals
  • Glasgow Royal Mental Hospital
  • Glasgow North-Eastern Mental Hospitals
  • Hawkhead Mental Hospital
  • Lennox Castle and Associated Institutions
  • Campeltown and District Hospitals
  • Dunoon Hospitals
  • Oban and District Hospitals
  • Lochgilphead Hospitals
  • Isle of Arran Hospitals
  • Bute and Cumbrae Hospitals
  • Northern Ayrshire Hospitals
  • Southern Ayrshire Hospitals
  • Ayrshire Mental Hospitals
  • Dumfries and Galloway Hospitals
  • Crichton Royal Mental Hospital
  • Dunbartonshire Hospitals
  • Coatbridge, Airdrie and District Hospitals
  • Motherwell, Hamilton and District Hospitals
  • Southern Lanarkshire Hospitals
  • Lanarkshire Mental Hospitals
  • Paisley and District Hospitals
  • Greenock and District Hospitals
  • Renfrewshire Mental Hospitals
  • Stirling and Clackmannan Hospitals
  • Falkirk and District Hospitals
  • Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth Hospitals
  • Bellsdyke Mental Hospital
  • Royal National Scottish Institute, Larbert

The committee structure of the WRHB was quite stable. In 1950 its principal committees were:

  • Establishment;
  • Finance [sub committees - Farms and Purchases];
  • General Purposes;
  • Hospital Services [ sub committees - General & Special, Maternity, and Mental Health];
  • Hospital Staffing [ sub committees - Medical Establishment, Nursing & Ancilliary Services, and Laboratory Services];
  • Property & Works.

The distinction between the Establishment Committee and Hospital Services Committee was that the former dealt with administrative staff and the latter with other staff. In addition the WRHB was represented on the Medical Education Committee, a joint committee with the University of Glasgow. In the 1960s and 1970s there was a proliferation of sub committees and working parties. The WRHB was dissolved in the spring of 1974. The new area health boards were charged with responsibility for public health and primary health care as well as hospital services.

There were a number of amalgamations of Boards of management, particularly in the late 1960s when most of the Boards responsible for psychiatric institutions were integrated into geographically defined Boards.

The following information might be of interest to researchers:

  • Chairmen of WRHB
  • 1947-1955 Sir Alexander Macgregor
  • 1955-1963 Captain Sir James Younger
  • 1963-1967 John Dunlop
  • 1967-1974 Simpson Stevenson

  • Secretaries of WRHB
  • 1947-1952 Henry W Scarth
  • 1952-1966 P Stewart Watt
  • 1966-1974 Robert D R Gardner


Arranged in series.

Access Information

Some material is closed to the public under the Data Protection Act. This has been indicated at file level where relevant. Should you wish to access these files, please contact the Archivist Alistair Tough.

Other Finding Aids

A paper based finding aid can be located in the searchroom.

Appraisal Information

Appraised according to standard GB 0812 procedure.


No further accurals expected.

Geographical Names