Gates said Harvey offered his resignation. US Senior defence officials, however, said Gates had requested it.
 
An investigation by The Washington Post found that soldiers convalescing from war wounds at Walter Reed were subjected to a morass of red tape and were living in a dilapidated building infested with mice, mold and cockroaches.
 

"This is unacceptable to me, it is unacceptable to our country and it's not going to continue

"This is unacceptable to me, it is unacceptable to our country and it's not going to continue"

George Bush, the US president
," Bush said in his weekly radio address, taped on Friday and released before its usual Saturday morning delivery.

   

Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic Speaker said: "The resignation of Secretary Harvey over the substandard conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center is further evidence of the administration's inability to competently discharge its responsibilities to those most deserving of the nation's attention."

 

Harvey, in an interview with The Washington Post, said: "We let the soldiers down. I'm the head of the army. What can I say?"

 

Take charge

 

The US army has said that Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley will temporarily take charge of Walter Reed, replacing Major General George Weightman.

 

Defence officials said Gates was not satisfied with Harvey's choice of Kiley, a former commander of the hospital who had been accused of ignoring earlier complaints about outpatient care.

   

"I am concerned that some do not properly understand the need to communicate to the wounded and their families that we have no higher priority than their care and that addressing their concerns about the quality of their outpatient experience is critically important," Gates said on Friday.

   

Kiley served only one day, as the Army on Friday named Major Geeral Eric Schoomaker as permanent commander of Walter Reed.

 

Bipartisan panel

 

Bush said he would name a bipartisan panel to review medical care for

"some of our troops at Walter Reed have experienced bureaucratic delays and living conditions that are less than they deserve"

George Bush, the US president
military veterans. The White House said the review would be separate from a similar investigation ordered by the Pentagon.

   

The president, who learned of the problems through newspapers, said he was deeply troubled by the reports.

 

He said while most of the people working at the hospital were dedicated professionals, "some of our troops at Walter Reed have experienced bureaucratic delays and living conditions that are less than they deserve."