Doctors warn of need for hospital cash

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The Independent Online
THE British Medical Association yesterday warned of a 'disastrous destabilisation' in patient care in London, unless the Government provides enough money to fund changes put forward in the Tomlinson report.

In its response to the report, which proposes the closure or merger of at least 10 hospitals, the BMA said that a substantial investment in primary and community care was needed immediately to offset the potential loss of hospital beds.

It called for more research on patient travelling time and convenience, and on the London Ambulance Service, before any firm decisions are made. It was also essential that the organisation of London's research facilities was not 'irrevocably damaged by far-reaching changes'.

The BMA renewed its warnings of a grave cash crisis facing hospitals across Britain, as funding from block contracts with health authorities runs out. Many hospitals are doing emergency work only, or seeking work from GP fundholders, which is leading to a two-tier service, it said.

Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, said: 'The BMA has never taken any other line than that the NHS is underfunded.'