This Week

Ministers have approved a£462m plan to redevelop St Bartholomew's and the Royal London hospitals in a bid to end debate over the survival of Bart's.

Health minister John Denham announced his decision this week, as part of a 10year strategy for east London that also includes investment in GP surgeries, an extension of telephone helpline NHS Direct and the establishment of a single mental health trust for the area.

The redevelopment plans include 124 more beds than at present, and 195 more than set out in the plans sent by Barts and the London trust to London regional office. These include 90 intermediate care beds for elderly people recovering from operations.

Former health secretary Frank Dobson announced plans to 'save' Bart's as a cardiac and coronary centre shortly after the general election. But doctors have repeatedly warned that this could be dangerous for patients who need other acute services at the Royal London Hospital.

Primary care groups have warned that the proposals risk draining resources from the rest of the community.