Profiling Community Hospitals

There are over 500 community hospitals in the UK according to the CHA sources: 346 in England, 101 in Scotland, 44 in Wales and 13 in Northern Ireland. The location of these community hospitals is shown on the page "mapping community hospitals."  The definition of community hospital includes community hospitals with beds, as well as community without beds (often referred to as community hubs).  Community wards offering intermediate care in an acute hospital are also included as well as  rehabilitation units. 



The CHA database includes hospitals and facilities that have the following characteristics:

  • Small local hospital (may also be referred to as a hub or a unit)
  • Typically rural
  • Focus on intermediate care/rehabilitation
  • Community-based with community staff directly accessing service
  • Medical service sessional (not onsite 24/7), typically provided by local GPs often with consultant support
  • Range of services such as diagnostics, clinics, minor injuries unit, maternity etc.
  • Formally titled or described as a community hospital

Facilities not included in our definition of community hospitals include: hospices, mental health units, specialist units and acute secondary or tertiary care hospitals.

Categories of Community Hospitals


The categories that the CHA has developed for the Department of Health have been adopted and updated.

  • Classic Community Hospital 

A local hospital, unit or centre community based, providing an appropriate range and format of accessible health care facilities and resources for the defined community. These will include inpatient beds and may include outpatients, diagnostics, surgery, day care, nurse led, maternity, primary care and outreach services for patients provided by multidisciplinary teams.

  • Community Hospital Hub

Also referred to as Community Care Resource Centres, these local hospitals provide a range of community-based health and social care services. Community hubs do not include inpatient beds but may include outpatients, diagnostics, treatments, day care, primary care and outreach services for patients provided by multidisciplinary teams. They may also provide service concerned with wellbeing and health promotion, and also provide a base for third sector services.  A number of classic community hospitals are being reconfigured into community hubs, following the closure of inpatient wards.

  • Intermediate Care/Rehabilitation Unit

A local facility providing beds and associated clinics and therapy in order to promote independence, avoid admission to a DGH (step up) and reduce stays in a DGH (step down). These units or hospitals typically focus exclusively on rehabilitation, and do not provide other services.  These may be standalone units, or within a nursing home.

  • Community Hospital beds in a Ward in a DGH

Community beds for intermediate care have been established in a number of secondary care hospitals, and are described as community hospitals within a DGH.

Below are the references to the CHA Directories and Databases from 1985, 1999, 2008 and 2017.

CHA Database 2016

CHA Database 2017


The latest CHA database records over 500 community hospitals throughout the UK. This includes classic community hospitals with beds; community hubs without beds; rehabilitation/ intermediate care units, and also community wards in acute hospitals.


The current data set includes fields on: commissioner, provider, address, postcode, telephone number, and notes on current status.

Profiling Community Hospitals in England 2008

Profiling Community Hospitals in England 2008


The Department of Health (DH) with Community Health Partnership (CHP) commissioned a study from the Community Hospitals Association (CHA) to provide a profile of community hospitals in England in 1998 and 2008, demonstrating changes and trends over the 10-year period. This was the CHA Profiling Report.


The study found that there was a reduction overall of 38 classic community hospitals (with beds), reducing from 334 in 1998 to 296 in 2008.   During this period, 65 community hospitals closed, and 27 were opened (either as new or redeveloped).


The study found that there was an increase in diversification of community hospitals. In addition to the 296 classic community hospitals with beds, there were 16 community hubs (without beds), 1 community ward in a DGH, 3 rehabilitation/intermediate care units and 7 examples of partnerships with care homes.


The source for the CHA dataset includes:

  • CHA historical records
  • The Wellcome Trust for archive records
  • Estates Data – ERIC
  • NHSI for Innovation and Improvement dataset
  • NHS Choices
  • Survey forms completed by community hospital staff
  • Updates from CHA members
  • Media scanning
  • Internet searches of provider websites etc.

The CHA also carried out a study on Models of Ownership of Community Hospitals for the Department of Health.

CHA Directory 1999

Community Hospitals Association Directory 1999


The Directory was published in 1999 and recorded 468 community hospitals in the UK.


The directory listed community hospitals by name, location, address, population served, the name of the nearest DGH and the distance from the community hospital to the DGH. A profile of the hospital services was listed, including number of beds, and whether the hospital had services such as casualty, X-ray etc. The profiling also included the number of visiting Consultant, number of GPs supporting the hospital, and the number of practices.

The Association of General Practitioner Hospitals Directory 1985

The Association of General Practitioner Hospitals Directory 1985


The CHA, (previously known as the Association of General Practitioner Hospitals) published a directory in 1985 that listed 415 community hospitals in the UK. 


In addition to profile data, the directory also provided activity data.  This included the number of beds, the number of discharges/deaths, occupancy rate and the length of stay. Also recorded were the number of surgical procedures carried out under general anaesthetic, casualty and outpatient clinic attendances and X-ray units.