Letter: The envy of America

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Sir: I would like to express, as a patient, my opinion on the proposals of the Tomlinson Report concerning London's hospitals, and St Bartholomew's in particular ('Doctors accept need for change', 11 September).

While living recently in Washington DC, I developed a rare form of high blood pressure, which was treated by what is probably the world's leading medical research centre, the US National Institute of Health. On my return to this country I was referred by them to Bart's, with the comment that it was the best in Europe and that I was lucky to be returning to London.

The efforts of the professor of nephrology and his team, in association with other consultants at Bart's, made a full diagnosis of my condition, for which they are treating me successfully, and I am able to lead a full and active life. I have been treated as an in-patient in the renal, endocrinology, cardiac and casualty wards. The standard of care from all the staff was first-rate, though they and their facilities were patently under- resourced and at full stretch.

Bart's and the London hospitals affected by the Tomlinson Report serve two purposes: to meet the medical needs of London's population and as centres of research and excellence.

In this, as in many other respects, we are (or were) respected and envied by our American and European friends. Are successive Tory governments to throw this away, too?

Yours faithfully,


London, SW1

12 September