York & North Yorkshire

Legal action over Northallerton hospital changes dropped

Friarage Hospital, Northallerton Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The hospital's A&E department was "temporarily" closed in March due to staff shortages

A campaign group opposed to the suspension of services at a hospital in North Yorkshire has dropped its legal challenge.

Northallerton's Friarage Hospital's A&E department was "temporarily" closed in March due to staff shortages.

The Save Friarage Hospital group was granted permission to challenge the decision in June.

The group has dropped its action after health bosses offered a full public consultation on the changes.

Helen Smith, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, represents the group and said: "It is now vital that the CCG [Clinical Commissioning Group] carries out a full and transparent consultation, with an open mind on all the options including reinstating the A&E and other services at the Friarage, allowing residents to have the opportunity to fully take part in the decision making process."

The South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had previously urged campaigners to drop their legal battle and said services at the Friarage had improved since the closure.

A spokesperson said the Trust was pleased campaigners had agreed to settle their legal action.

"We can now focus our efforts on carrying out a full public consultation," a statement said.

"We have always stated that we would carry out a full public consultation and this has always been our intention."

Holly Wilkinson of the Save Friarage Hospital group said it would still campaign to protect services in the area.

"We continue to have concerns about what the long-term future may hold for the hospital but welcome the commitment to fully engage with everyone who will be affected," she said.

The consultation is expected to begin in September.

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