Health review offers hope for Bart's

The possibility of a reprieve for St Bartholomew's hospital, one of London's oldest medical institutions, arose yesterday as the Government announced the membership of the panel appointed to review health services in the capital.

The review, disclosed in The Independent last month, will reconsider the closure of Bart's and other London hospitals planned by the last government. Announcing the review in the Commons yesterday, Frank Dobson, Secretary of State for Health, said there would be a moratorium on further closures until the report was completed. It is expected by October.

The review is to be chaired by Sir Leslie Turnberg, outgoing president of the Royal College of Physicians and a critic of the NHS internal market. Sir Leslie is known to believe lack of planning under the market has undermined the NHS's capacity to meet local needs.

The five-member panel includes Brian Jarman, professor of general practice at Imperial College and one of the most vociferous critics of the previous government's plans for the capital's hospitals.

Professor Jarman argued that the 1992 review of London's health services by Sir Bernard Tomlinson, on which the closure plans were based, was flawed because it failed to take account of the shortage of geriatric beds in the capital.

The number of hospital beds has fallen faster in London than elsewhere over the last decade but the number of patients treated from outside the capital has increased, counter to expectations when the NHS internal market was introduced in 1991, according to studies by the Kings Fund, the independent health policy think tank.

Professor Jarman said the closure of beds and hospitals in London had already gone too far and should be halted, a view later adopted by the Kings Fund, which had earlier argued in favour of more hospital closures.

The review panel has been asked to look particularly at the future of Bart's and two other hospitals where closure plans have provoked fierce local opposition. These are Queen Mary's, Roehampton and Oldchurch, and Harold Wood, in Romford, Essex.

Bart's accident and emergency unit was closed last year and the entire hospital is due to shut within five years as remaining departments are moved to the Royal London hospital at Whitechapel.

However, the move depends on the Royal London securing a pounds 300m deal to redevelop the Whitechapel site under the Private Finance Initiative.

Although it is unlikely that the panel will recommend the reopening of the Barts casualty department, it is expected to take a searching look at the costs involved in redeveloping the Royal London in order to close Bart's.

Guy's hospital is due to lose its accident and emergency department by the end of the decade but was not specifically mentioned in yesterday's announcement as there are no plans to close it. It will continue to treat in-patients and out-patients in association with St Thomas', which will take over the accident and emergency work for the two hospitals.

Stephen Dorrell, former Tory health secretary, condemned as "completely absurd" Mr Dobson's decision to announce the review in a statement to the Commons on a Friday, when many MPs are in their constituencies. "Is it because you recognise that yet another review of London's health care services is the very last thing they need? It's a cheap election gimmick," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Support / IT Sales / Graduate Sales / Trainee

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has now arisen for a Sale...

Recruitment Genius: Administration Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...

Recruitment Genius: Service Manager

£37000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has a track record...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable