Controversial changes at a North Yorkshire hospital come into force today.
There will no longer be an overnight children's ward at the Friarage hospital in Northallerton with families having to travel to Middlesbrough, Darlington or Harrogate for emergency care instead.
Campaigners had fought to stop the changes, but it was decided the units were too small to be safe.
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Controversial pans to downgrade services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton are to go ahead.
Jeremy Hunt today said that he agreed with the findings of an Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) after the decision to change services was referred by North Yorkshire County Council's Scrutiny of Health Committee.
Children's and maternity services at the site will now be downgraded.
Councillor Jim Clark, chair of the North Yorkshire County Council Scrutiny of Health Committee said: "We have gone as far as we can so we now need to accept this decision and look forward.
"We will be looking to make sure the transition to a short stay paediatric assessment unit and a midwife led maternity unit at the Friarage Hospital...are implemented as smoothly and with as little disruption to patients as possible."
Vicky Pleydell, Chief Clinical Officer at Hambleton, Richmondshire & Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group, welcomed the decision:
"We hope that people who have had concerns about these plans will be reassured by the Secretary of State's decision based on independent clinical advice, and are now confident that this is absolutely the right thing to do."
Lord Ribeiro, Chairman of the IRP, said: "_The quality of patient care has been our primary concern and after considering the matter carefully we believe these changes will ensure the best care for local women and children.
"We have taken into account the clinical evidence about the current and future safety and sustainability of maternity services and the need to make best use of scarce resources, and believe these proposals are the most effective way of meeting the challenges currently facing the Friarage Hospital."
Proposals for the future of maternity and paediatric services at Friarage Hospital in Northallerton are to be referred for a second time for consideration by the NHS Independent Reconfiguration Panel.
In a letter to the chairman of North Yorkshire County Council’s Scrutiny of Health Committee today, theSecretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, says he has agreed to a request by the committee that the proposals should be examined again.
The group which made a decision to downgrade services at the Friarage Hospital has responded to news that Richmondshire District Council are considering taking legal action over the move.
The decision has been referred to the Secretary of State for an independent review.
The CCG has undertaken a rigorous and robust process during the consultation regarding changes to the paediatric and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital. Members of the SoHC, who have examined the process in detail at every stage over the last two years, were complimentary of the process that had been undertaken by the CCG and accepted that the case for change had been proved and that the consultation had been fair, open and rigorous. The CCG is awaiting the decision from the Secretary of State before it proceeds any further.
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A public meeting is being held this morning at the Golden Lion Hotel in Northallerton, to discuss the future of children's and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital. It was decided last week that services will be scaled back.
Campaigners, councillors and members of the Clinical Commissioning Group, which made the decision, will take part.
A public meeting will be held this morning to discuss how maternity care will operate at The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.
It follows a decision last week by the hospital to scale back paediatric and maternity services.
The existing service, run by consultants, will become midwife-led.
The changes will start in October.
Today's meeting is being held at The George Hotel in Northallerton and has been organised by NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group.
A family from the Yorkshire Dales is urging a North Yorkshire hospital to retain its current level of paediatric and maternity services - especially for people living in remote villages.
Amanda Owen has given birth to two of her six children in road lay-bys, because she's not made it to hospital in time.
The future of services at the Friarage hospital in Northallerton is being looked at by the Government.
Plans to downgrade children's services at Friarage Hospital in North Yorkshire will be referred to the Health Secretary.
There is local opposition to NHS Trust plans to reduce maternity services and scale back 24-hour paediatric care - some services would be transferred to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. Sarah Kelly reports.