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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Bomb hospital to close 100 beds
Royal Free Hospital
Some 61 of the 7 July bomb victims were treated at the hospital
A hospital which played a key role in treating London bomb victims plans to shut 100 beds to save money.

The Royal Free Hospital, in north London, which has 1,000 beds, said fewer patients would stay overnight in an attempt to tackle debts of 10.2m.

The trust said the deficit was a major factor in it dropping from a two star rating to zero stars in 2004/5.

But health workers union Unison said the closures "made no sense" while London was under threat of attacks.

The trust said no staff would be made redundant although some would be retrained.

The idea that you can prop this up with day surgery is completely flawed
Geoff Martin
And treatment would be made more efficient so patients would not need to stay in hospital for such long periods of time.

Those that did need to stay nearby would be offered on-site hostel or hotel accommodation.

This accommodation would need investment along with new theatre and radiology equipment, the trust said.

Andrew Way, the trust's chief executive, said: "I genuinely believe that although these changes are borne out of necessity, they present a real opportunity for the Royal Free to take a fresh look at how it provides many of its services and that can only be good for patients."

But Unison's Geoff Martin said: "The idea that you can prop this up with day surgery is completely flawed.

"We are moving into the busy winter period and with the continued threat of terrorist attacks in London, to be closing frontline services in the capital makes no sense at all."

The hospital treated 61 of the 7 July casualties and MPs in the House of Commons praised the hospital for its actions at the time.

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