THE outgoing head of the NHS has said hospitals will have to close and services centralised to improve patient care.

Sir David Nicholson called for a radical reorganisation of health services so a smaller number of larger hospitals offer most major surgery while smaller hospitals scale back the care they provide.

He warned that the NHS could face a £30billion funding shortfall in just seven years unless it changes the way it provides services.

He also called on politicians from all parties to back the controversial reforms, which he fears otherwise could be used to score party political points in the run up to the next general election.