Many community hospitals at risk of closure 'would be better off with charitable status' than remaining in the NHS, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley has said.

Many community hospitals at risk of closure 'would be better off with charitable status' than remaining in the NHS, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley has said.

Speaking to a meeting of hospital closure protesters, Mr Lansley also said the government needed to 'get on with' unbundling the payment by results tariff to reimburse services in the community, before community hospitals were closed.

Health minister Lord Warner said primary care trusts should not make short-term financial decisions, but warned that 'some community hospitals are not fit for purpose'.