pounds 140m boost for health care in London

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The Independent Online
Two members of the five strong London review panel are understood to have had second thoughts after they agreed the final report last November. Although they put their names to the recommendation that Barts should close they later said they believed the extra cost of maintaining Barts would be better invested in GP and mental health services in the capital which are among the worst in the country.

Yesterday, Frank Dobson recognised their concerns by announcing an extra pounds 140m for those services over the next four years, with pounds 30m allocated next year, although this will not be new money and will be taken from elsewhere in the NHS budget. He added that he was accepting all the other recommendations of the review.

The panel looked at hospitals across the capital but with particular emphasis on three, including Barts. In south-west London, Queen Mary's hospital is to be replaced by a community hospital. In east London, it favoured developing a new hospital at Oldchurch hospital, rather than Harold Wood.

Mr Dobson said the proposals "provide a firm foundation for a 10-year programme to provide London with a modern and dependable health service". But John Maples, the Tories' health spokesman, said: "This is not saving Barts, but saving face for Labour."