Strategic health authorities were created by the government in 2002 to manage the local NHS on behalf of the secretary of state. There were originally 28 SHAs. On July 1 2006, this number was reduced to 10.
SHAs are responsible for:
- Developing plans for improving health services in their local area
- Making sure local health services are of a high quality and are performing well
- Increasing the capacity of local health services so they can provide more services
- Making sure national priorities (for example, programmes for improving cancer services) are integrated into local health service plans
SHAs manage the NHS locally and provide an important link between the Department of Health and the NHS.