Health secretary Frank Dobson said this week he had 'saved' St Bartholomew's Hospital by announcing it will become a specialist centre for cardiac and cancer care.

But he told MPs on Tuesday that the London hospital's accident and emergency department will not reopen and it will cease to be a general hospital.

Announcing the findings of the London healthcare review, Mr Dobson said: 'We will not countenance the closure of that great hospital which has served the people of London for 875 years.'

Publication of the report lifts a moratorium on hospital building in London, and Mr Dobson said pounds800m worth of investment would now go ahead.

He promised that pounds140m would also be invested in primary and mental healthcare over the next four years.

The review also called for a single London-wide NHS regional office to be created in the medium term to formulate capital-wide strategies and action.

Health Services in London - strategic review, pounds3. DoH Store, PO Box 410, Wetherby LS23 7LN.