Commentary (Sunday Times)

MT: "Baroness Thatcher expected to leave hospital today" (health scare)

Document type: Press
Source: The Sunday Times , 8 March 2008
Journalist: Kevin Dowling, Sunday Times
Editorial comments:
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 573 words

Baroness Thatcher expected to leave hospital today

Kevin Dowling, The Sunday Times and newswires: 8 March 2008

Baroness Margaret Thatcher is "feeling a lot brighter" after a fainting episode and hopes to be released from hospital this afternoon, a spokesman for her office said today.

Precautionary tests on the 82-year-old former Prime Minister have so-far revealed nothing seriously wrong.

Baroness Thatcher's daughter, Carol, said her mother had been near the House of Lords when she was taken ill last night. She was driven to St Thomas's Hospital where she undwerwent a series of tests.

“You can see St Thomas's hospital from there and very wisely, at her age and with a history of little strokes, they decided to err on the side of caution, ” she said. “But it's good news today. She is doing well. ”

A spokesman said today: “She has had a comfortable night. She has been chatting to the nurses and feeling a lot brighter. They are finishing off testing that is really routine stuff. The tests so far have shown nothing more than a fainting episode. She will go home and have a nice restful few days. ”

The baroness has suffered a number of minor strokes in recent years, which are said to have affected her memory. In 2002, she was advised by her doctors to give up public speaking, although she has defied this advice on several occasions.

Ms Thatcher said she was trying to clarify how soon the former prime minister would be released before deciding whether to visit her in hospital or at home.

Thatcher’s health first caused public concern in 1994, when she collapsed because of a stomach upset while making a speech in Chile. Thatcher’s health suffered in 2003 when her husband Denis died at the age of 88.

She was last admitted to hospital in December 2005 after complaining of feeling faint while at her hairdresser’s. At that time she spent a night under observation at Chelsea and Westminster hospital.

Those who have met her in recent weeks said that she showed no apparent signs of ill health and she is lucid most of the time but occasionally drifts off in the middle of conversations because of difficulties with her short-term memory.

Earlier this month she urged Conservatives to “hold firm to their beliefs” as she was honoured with a statue at the party's headquarters.

On her first visit to since the party moved to 30 Millbank in Westminster last year, Lady Thatcher met staff and unveiled the statue in the reception area.

In a statement she said: “The Conservative party has always been at its best, and at its most successful, when it has held firm to its beliefs. “

Thatcher was prime minister from May 1979 until her resignation in November 1990. She was Britain's first woman prime minister and the first leader to win three elections in a row.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today he was sorry to hear that Baroness Thatcher had been ill.

“We are encouraged to hear that reports about her condition are better and that she will be leaving hospital soon, and I and others wish her well in a very speedy recovery, ”he said.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: “I wish Lady Thatcher a very speedy recovery.” Speaking in Liverpool, where the party is holding its spring conference, he added: “Whatever one's views about her, she is a towering figure.”