The PGIMER owes its inception to the vision of late Sardar Partap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister of Punjab and the distinguished medical educationists of the then combined state of Punjab, supported by the first Prime Minister of India Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru who considered the institutions of scientific knowledge as temples of learning and the places of pilgrimage. The institute started in 1962 and Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru inaugurated the hospital now named "Nehru Hospital" on 7th July 1963. The Institute was originally under the Government of undivided Punjab. After the reorganization of the state, the administrative control of the institute passed on to the Union Territory of Chandigarh in November 1966. The Institute became an autonomous body under the Act of Parliament in 1967 functioning under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, with the following mandate.
Provide high quality patient care. Attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate medical education and to meet the country's need for highly qualified medical teachers in all medical and surgical fields. Provide educational facilities for the training of personnel in all-important branches of health activity. Undertake basic community based research.