Legality of closures questioned

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Indy Politics
THE CLOSURE of London teaching hospitals could unleash a spate of legal challenges from charitable trusts that have handed over tens of millions of pounds in public donations for units now being built, the Government was warned yesterday, writes Judy Jones.

Charity law protects funds raised for specific purposes and diverting it could be illegal, according to the Directory for Social Change, an educational research charity that advises other voluntary organisations.

Current major projects being financed partly by charitable trusts include a new skills unit at St Bartholomew's in Smithfield, and a new building for the Royal Marsden's Chelsea site. Teaching hospitals are uniquely privileged in being able to retain control over long-standing voluntary endowments or trust funds, some of which date back several centuries.

The report estimates that since 1985, at least pounds 120m has been allocated by charitable trusts to large inner London teaching hospitals.