Letter: Hospital lambs to the slaughter

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Sir: I have recently been brooding over the threat of closure of several groups of internationally renowned London hospitals. Included in the groups are St Bartholomew's, Guy's, the Middlesex, University College Hospital, St Thomas' and Charing Cross. The recommendation of closure was made in a report by Sir Bernard Tomlinson, a sometime pathologist turned administrator in Newcastle upon Tyne.

I expected a storm of protest, but little reaction was apparent, though I did not have time to explore the whole of the press. There were a few items on radio and television, but nothing to suggest that the medical profession was girding its loins for an onslaught on the forces concerned. Indeed, the main impression was that the menaced establishments were prepared to be lined up and marched off like lambs to the slaughter.

The hospitals under threat are of great distinction, and they and their like act as a Mecca for students and graduates from abroad, aware of the great contributions they have made to world medicine. If the report were brought into effect, this would be one more example of official indifference to our standing in the rest of the world.

Virginia Bottomley is apparently happy to accept the Tomlinson report. However, Sir Bernard's background as a pathologist need not qualify him to pontificate about the survival of some of the world's most distinguished hospitals. If this report is implemented, yet more injury will be inflicted on the long-suffering British public by the inept bunch of fools now in government. Alas] I speak as a life-long Conservative]

Yours faithfully,


London, NW3