My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State today has asked the independent reconfiguration panel to undertake a review of the issues raised in relation to the reconfiguration of in-patient services for women, babies, children and young people in Greater Manchester.
I welcome that announcement from the Minister. I am sure that she is aware of the strong feeling in Rochdale about the Rochdale infirmary. The campaign to preserve that hospital is ably led by Father Arthur Nearey, the chairman of the Friends of Our Hospital group. What is the time frame for the inquiry? Will the Friends of Our Hospital group be consulted on the proposals that are made?
One can imagine that the news that there is to be another stage in the process will not be welcomed in those areas of Greater Manchester where people had thought that maternity and paediatric services were established. My constituency is one of those areas, so what reassurances can my right hon. Friend give me that ministerial commitments made on the Floor of the House about the future of secondary paediatrics and maternity services at North Manchester general hospital will be met by the further review?
As I am sure my hon. Friend knows, a very clear process exists for these matters. The proposals will go before the joint overview and scrutiny committees, which will look at all the relevant clinical evidence and take into account all the points that have been made in the consultation process so far.