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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Panel reports on hospital plans
Rochdale infirmary
Rochdale Infirmary is one of the hospital's set to lose its unit
An independent review of controversial plans to shake-up hospital services across Greater Manchester is being handed into the government.

The government ordered the review of proposals to close maternity units in Bury, Rochdale, Salford and Trafford.

The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP) also examined plans to downgrade Rochdale's A&E unit and axe emergency surgery at Fairfield Hospital in Bury.

A final decision rests with the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

She will decide whether to accept the panel's recommendations or follow through with the two separate modernisation plans - dubbed Making It Better and Healthy Futures.

Public opposition

Members of the IRP have visited all of the hospitals affected by the proposals to talk to staff and management about the changes.

They have also invited feedback from patients and members of the public.

NHS bosses in Greater Manchester decided to go ahead with the shake-up of maternity and children's services despite thousands of objections.

Three super units to treat premature babies and eight centres of excellence for maternity and children's services were proposed.

But this meant the closure of existing maternity units at some hospitals, leading to local protests supported by government ministers Hazel Blears (Salford MP) and Ivan Lewis (Bury MP).

Healthy Futures - the re-organisation of hospital services in north Manchester - was also approved by primary care trusts despite local opposition.

Following the opposition, the government announced the independent review in February.

Ms Hewitt's decision is not expected to be made public for a number of weeks.

Parents lose A&E closure appeal
08 Jun 07 |  Manchester
Opinion sought on NHS shake-ups
12 Mar 07 |  Manchester
Maternity shake-up review ordered
06 Feb 07 |  Manchester
Big shake-up for maternity care
06 Feb 07 |  Health
Protests over maternity unit cuts
19 Dec 06 |  Manchester
Maternity services under threat
18 Nov 05 |  Manchester

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