York & North Yorkshire

Jeremy Hunt urged to review Friarage Hospital downgrade plan

Friarage Hospital
Image caption The change will end consultant-led maternity services at the hospital

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to be asked to review plans to downgrade maternity and children's services at a North Yorkshire hospital.

Services at the Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, that are run by consultants are to become midwife-led.

North Yorkshire County Council's Scrutiny of Health Committee will write to Mr Hunt asking him to have the proposals reviewed.

The plans were announced in 2011 and are due to be introduced in October.

The Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group previously said the low number of births at the hospital meant it was difficult to provide enough doctors with the range of skills needed to cover more complex medical problems.

Protest march

Mr Hunt had previously rejected calls for a full review into the plans.

The proposals have led to protests including a petition, and a march led by local Conservative MP William Hague.

They would mean limited community paediatric services with no overnight stays for ill children.

Pregnant women or children with complicated medical conditions would have to use the James Cook University Hospital 22 miles (35km) away in Middlesbrough.

County Councillor Jim Clark, said the scrutiny committee believed a case could be made for keeping the consultant service.

The committee wants the decision to be reviewed by the NHS Independent Reconfiguration Committee.

The 225-bed hospital serves 122,000 people in a mainly rural area.

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