Firm injects lease of life into Barts

CLIFFORD Chance is helping St Bartholomew's hospital take on a new lease of life.

The firm has drawn up a governing instrument so that a charitable foundation can run Barts independent of the NHS, which plans to close it in 2002.

The firm's link with Barts is well established. It was involved in the Save Barts Patients' Campaign which began four years ago and acted for Islington and Hackney councils in a judicial review of the Government's decision to close the accident and emergency unit.

Now a group of doctors and business figures, under the banner of the Royal Hospital of St Bartholomew Charitable Foundation, plan to buy Barts and run it as a voluntary hospital, supported by private finance and donations.

Clifford Chance drew up the governing instrument for the foundation and recently received the go-ahead to register the charity by the Charity Commission. It plans to register the foundation this week.

Dr Max Gammon, founder governor of the foundation, said: “Clifford Chance completed the process in record time.” He said the foundation will definitely be continuing its legal relationship with the firm.

Litigation partner Michael Smyth said there was a great feeling of warmth for the hospital in the firm.

“We look out at Barts' site from our office so the hospital bulks large in our life,” he said.