An independent centre for HIV and AIDS care has announced a series of redundancies and closures in the same week that the Public Health Laboratory Service predicted that the number of new diagnoses looks set to rise again.

The latest PHLS figures forecast that the numbers of people identified as HIV positive in 2000 will overtake the already record levels reached in 1999. There has been a 7 per cent increase on the numbers recorded this time last year, with 2,868 new HIV diagnoses already reported for 2000.

At the same time, the east London Mildmay Hospital is making 10 people redundant and has closed an adult residential unit to tackle a£650,000 deficit.

The hospital said its financial problems were caused by a shortfall in funding from London health authorities who had their own 'budget constraints'.

Hospital director Barbara Dicks said HAs 'couldn't keep pace with funding patients' needs and so there was a drop in referrals'.

The hospital, which is noted for its work with people with HIV/AIDS-related brain impairment, said higher numbers of patients than had been expected had already been treated in the current financial year, and health authorities had no more money for further referrals.