The gradual reduction in services and eventual closure of Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, caused major problems for hospitals in south and west London, according to a report for Wandsworth council by London Health Emergency.

The report says ambulance response times in the area have increased significantly since acute services were withdrawn from the hospital in 1998. It also says 'hundreds of patients every month' have been left waiting overnight in Kingston Hospital accident and emergency department.

It argues that the hospital survived 'two attempts at closure by local health officials' before acute services were finally withdrawn.

London Health Emergency said promises to local people were 'broken at every stage'. Wandsworth council leader Edward Lister said: 'It is time for an urgent rethink of the orthodoxy that has been driving the move to bigger and bigger hospitals.'

Sue Gallagher, chief executive of Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth health authority, said:

'Whilst the sequence of events surrounding the transfer of acute inpatient services from the hospital is not disputed, the concerns about the future redevelopment are highly misleading.'

Three Strikes and You're Out: review of the closure and transfer of services from Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton - October 1992-November 1999.