Ross Clark Ross Clark

Fear in the community

Ross Clark reveals that the government has a hidden programme for mass closure of local hospitals

The local people who turned out to see Princess Helen Louise open the new wing of St Leonard’s Hospital in Sudbury, Suffolk, in 1938 would not have recognised the term ‘stakeholder’, but they would seem to have fitted perfectly Tony Blair’s vision of a breed of socially responsible citizens helping to run the country’s public services. ‘They paid for the hospital through voluntary subscriptions of a few pence a week,’ says local historian Barry Wall. ‘The hospital had been built in 1867 using the proceeds of the sale of the site of an old leper home which had been in existence since the reign of Edward II. But it was local people who paid to keep it going. As a child I remember f

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