Doubt is cast over hospital's future

THE FUTURE of Charing Cross teaching hospital in London was thrown into jeopardy yesterday when its regional health authority proposed closing its casualty department, writes Jack O'Sullivan.

In effect, the 100-page report puts the Charing Cross alongside St Thomas's and University College hospitals at the top of the danger list for closures being put forward by regional authorities to the Government's advisers.

North West Thames regional health authority has recommended closing up to 1,964 of the region's 7,000 beds by 1996. Additionally, medical schools at St Mary's, Westminster and Charing Cross would be streamlined into a single school based around Imperial College. These plans go forward to an inquiry which will make recommendations on London health care to the Government next month. It is widely expected to propose closing at least two London teaching hospitals.

The health authority's submission paints a gloomy picture of Charing Cross, said to be 'threatened by the internal market'. Its plan would involve closure of the Charing Cross casualty department by April 1994.

The Charing Cross site might instead be used for elderly and mentally ill people and as a focus of primary care services.

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