Dr. Vicky Pleydell, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
"We are extremely pleased that the Independent Reconfiguration Panel has agreed we need to take action around the issues facing the children's and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.
"The Secretary of State has given us the go ahead to start the consultation and this shows he has confidence in the process we have followed so far."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has decided against ordering an independent investigation into proposals to reduce children's and maternity services at Northallerton's Friarage Hospital.
A Department for Health spokesperson confirmed Mr Hunt's decision in a statement, which said:
"The Health Secretary agrees with the advice of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel that there should now be local consultation on the planned changes to children’s and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital.
"This will give local people and stakeholders the opportunity to look at all viable options and give their view in a fair, open and rigorous process that seeks the best possible solution.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP has announced that he will not order an independent investigation into proposals to reduce children's and maternity services at Northallerton's Friarage Hospital.
Consultation on the future of services will now go ahead at a local level. However, campaigners fighting to save the unit say Mr Hunt's decision is "devastating" and that the consultation only offers options which would scale back the hospital's services and not maintain them.
Campaigners added that they had hoped Mr Hunt would intervene, and describe his decision not to as a bitter blow.
An independent candidate representing the fight to save consultant led maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton has won a seat on North Yorkshire County Council.
Stuart Parsons stood in the Richmond ward for the 'Save our Friarage' group.
Today marks the deadline for the findings of a report into the future of consultant-led maternity services at the Friarage Hospital to be handed to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The NHS is planning to reduce services at the Friarage in Northallerton, claiming that they are unsustainable.
However, supporters of the unit hope that the findings of the report will lead to a full comprehensive review of the consultant-led maternity services at the hospital.
Plans to downgrade children's services at Friarage Hospital in North Yorkshire will be referred to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
There has been local opposition to the plans - which would see some services transferred to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Jim Clark, from North Yorkshire County Council's Health and Scrutiny Committee, spoke of the events that led to the decision being made to refer to the plans to the Health Secretary
A meeting is being held this evening to discuss proposals to reduce the maternity and children's health services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.
The NHS Trust wants to remove consultant-led services from the hospital and recently postponed a public consultation.
Tonight North Yorkshire County Council is meeting to discuss whether to refer the matter to the Health Secretary.
Members of the Richmondshire Council have unanimously voted to call upon the bigger North Yorkshire County Council to 'call in' plans to remove what they say are key services from the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.
The North Yorkshire County Council's Health and Scrutiny Committee could then call for the plans to be re-examined by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
The council says that the wishes of the local community have been ignored in wanting to keep the 24-hour Children's and Maternity Services, which would be downgraded if plans were to go ahead.
Richmondshire Council have condemned plans to remove the children's and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton as being a "done deal from the outset."
They have also been critical of the Primary Care Trust which they say has failed to both to listen and respond to local communities.
Richmondshire Council have announced that they will be conducting research into the work of small hospitals elsewhere in the country in a bid to prove that the services to be scrapped at the Friarage Hospital must stay.
The research will look into the work done by at least three other hospitals in the West Country who face a similar amount of demand for services to that of the Friarage. This includes the North Devon Hospital which operates a 24 hour maternity and children's service.
"We consider the local NHS, rather than dismissing out of hand the opportunity to continue with these hugely important services at The Friarage, and excluding this option from the forthcoming consultation on downgrading them, should be asking themselves the question if these small hospitals can do it, why can’t we?
The evidence we collect from our fact finding mission is intended to prompt our local health chiefs to provide us, the local public their organisations serve, with their answer to this question."