- Tyne Tees
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William Hague has expressed his deep concern over the distance some people would have to travel if the consultant-led maternity unit at the Friarage hospital was closed.
A report earlier this year by the National Clinical Advisory Team into paediatric services at the Friarage recommended an outpatient-only service - meaning the maternity unit would not longer be sustainable.
Mr Hague, MP for Richmond, said: "I share the deep concern that many residents have over the proposed changes at the Friarage.
"Patients already have to travel long distances, often through difficult rural conditions and this would be made worse if they had to travel all the way to James Cook University Hospital for consultant-led maternity service.
"In the case of people from Hawes this would mean a journey time of one hour 45 minutes and from Leyburn one hour 15 minutes.
"My fear is that these journeys are too long for people reasonably to be asked to make and too long on safety and reliability grounds."
He added that the Friarage was the most important provider of health care services in Hambleton and Richmondshire and any changes should "give the utmost consideration to the possible dangers and inconvenience of patients having to travel longer distances."