The divorce between hospitals and the authorities concerned with public and social medicine has already been noticed and deplored. The issue now is to organise practical means of bridging the gap. There is great opportunity for closely integrating local authorities' preventive, after-care and social medicine services within the structure of the regional organisation without losing the power which the authorities must keep in their hands.

One aspect of this is the relief local authorities' clinics can bring to over-pressed hospital outpatient departments. But of course the most direct way local authorities can help promote economical use of hospital beds is through their care and after-care and preventive services.

If these can be organised on a sufficiently extensive and effective basis, considerable relief could be brought to the pressure on hospital services. In this way, the preventive and curative sides of the health service would form complementary parts of the same effort.