After the apparent warm wind of optimism that August brought comes the first cooling breeze of autumn as the realities of too many hospitals in London is realised.
The NHS and education are the two main political footballs in British politics with an almost constant rotation over the past forty years of ideas and ideologies, initiatives and interference. Labour with it's union support: UNISON (we're all in it together), COHSE (it keeps us safe and warm) and DOHSE (we've no bloody idea what we want) have shied away from any major changes to the structure in recent years whilst the Conservative party seem to favour the same plan every twenty years but can't actually be seen to creating a 'two-tier free at the point of treatment' service.
What's obvious though is that both Labour and Conservative Governments of the past twenty years have been so keen to be seen to do nothing that in the end that lack of activity has finally caught up with them. In 1992 (under John Major) and 2007 (under Tony Blair) reports were commissioned, compiled and then consigned to the waste paper bin. Professor Sir Bernard Tomlinson chaired the 1991-92 inquiry into London's hospitals and recommended that four hospitals: Barts, Charing Cross, Middlesex and one of either Bart's or Guy's be closed. In 2007 Ara Darzi, a surgeon, produced a report which set out a plan for concentrating all specialist services in one London hospital - that was rejected and it's chance of rehabilitation squashed by Andew Lansley just last year.
When Professor Sir Bernard Tomlinson concluded his inquiry the five hospitals mentioned above were £50m in debt, in the last six years alone £600m has been spent on supporting London based NHS trusts. In one of life's great ironies, St Mary's Paddington, which is to be closed and turned into 3,000 flats in an attempt to reduce the debt of £100m that the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is responsible for, is the workplace of Ara Darzi.
The debts at the moment are huge among some NHS Trusts, no doubt those ones who didn't respond to the survey I have linked to above, and that is without the burden of PFI schemes which are going to cripple many organisations over the next twenty years. At least we aren't alone in that respect as the current state of affairs in China is also in question given that the Government there has lied about its PFI schemes.