Health chiefs in St Helens have withdrawn their controversial proposal to suspend all non-urgent referrals following a public backlash.
Bosses at St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group made public the plan after revealing their parlous financial position.
However, doctors leaders at the British Medical Association and the wider public condemned the move as “unacceptable.
This prompted the CCG into announcing a dramatic u-turn tonight (Wednesday).
Geoffrey Appleton, the CCG’s lay chairman, said: “Since the consultation began we have been listening to and considering all the feedback we have received regarding our proposals. As a result of this we have taken the decision to withdraw the proposal to pause non urgent referrals from the consultation.”
“The financial challenges that NHS St Helens CCG faces have not gone away and we will now be looking at other measures we can introduce to assist with the £12.5 million funding gap.
“We will continue to work with our partners in the local health system to identify other opportunities where savings can be made. This will undoubtedly still involve some tough decisions about what is affordable but we will continue to consult with local people on any new proposals and listen to their views. I would encourage local people to continue to make their views heard about what is important to them around their local NHS”