The Mental Health Authority came into being in 1962, under the terms of the Mental Health Act 1959. The Authority was responsible for policy relating to mental health and control of what was previously called the Mental Hygiene Branch. Between 1944 and 1978 the Mental Hygiene Branch/Mental Health Authority greatly increased its services to patients and the public with the establishment of several clinics and childrens' facilities. It adopted a policy of regionalisation of facilities for the retarded and mentally ill, providing local accommodation in a less institutionalised environment. In 1978, the Mental Health Authority was abolished and was succeeded by the new Health Commission.