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.
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