No consultation on maternity units until May
A public consultation on controversial proposals to close three maternity units in Shropshire will not begin before May at the earliest.
The announcement came hours after it emerged the county's two main hospitals had been put into special measures.
The plans, announced by Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) last month, could see the closure of midwife-led maternity units at Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Oswestry. Mothers-to-be will still be able to give birth at the hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford, or opt for a home birth.
But Shropshire CCG accountable officer Simon Freeman said the consultation may not start until June.
"The consultation is unlikely to start before mid May or early June," he said.
"It is scheduled to last 12 weeks which is the standard approach.
"There may be a little delay in the process because of the school holidays."
Meanwhile, patients are still awaiting the decision on whether Telford's A & E unit will close overnight next month due to staff shortages.
Councillor Shaun Davies, leader of Telford and Wrekin Council, said reliable sources had informed him that the proposed overnight closure, due to begin on December 5, had been averted following a recruitment campaign.
But a statement issued by Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust said it was still in the process of interviewing staff, and the decision was yet to be taken.
“The trust is making great efforts to find the staff we need that would mean that we could avoid the overnight closure of the A&E at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford," said a spokeswoman.
"We have been conducting interviews this week and we are continuing to work hard to do all we can to avoid any overnight closure from December 5.”