"St George’s Hospital is a large teaching hospital situated in Tooting in South West London" writes a local health campaigner.

Like every other part of the NHS it is turmoil awaiting the outcome of Lansley’s infamous Health and Social Care bill.

The hospital must make savings of £50 million-roughly 10% of its budget. To do this 500 jobs are to be axed, three wards are to close and a hundred hospital beds are to be lost.

The much vaulted myth of patient choice popular during the Blair era, has now been put on the back burner. The hospital’s maternity unit, now running near full capacity is to have its intake capped.

Pregnant women in the area will be forced to choose another hospital in order to give birth.

The nearest available hospital is some miles away. So much for patient choice.

The devastation affecting all the NHS has had repercussions at the highest level at St George’s.

David Astley,the Chief Executive at the hospital, and no mean operator, has gone without even clearing his desk. The official line is that he was two years off retirement and wanted someone at the helm who would see the hospital through to foundation trust status-that is just two years off, and if all goes according to plan could have been accomplished before Astley’s retirement.

So many at the hospital are asking- did David Astley leave-or was he pushed ?

Lansley’s plans to hand funding over to GPs could be the kiss of death for St George’s and many other hospitals.

GPs with funding cuts of £20 billion will be forced to drastically curtail their reliance on hospital services. Hospital departments will close and waiting in the wings are the private healthcare companies only to eager if Lansley’s proposals go through to offer services previously provided by the NHS.