PLANS for major changes to critical care at Northallerton's Friarage Hospital are to be reviewed.

North Yorkshire's health watchdog is to scrutinise the plans, which will lead to patients in the area who need specialist services and critical care being sent to Middlesbrough's James Cook Hospital, almost 25 miles away.

The changes are due to come into effect on March 27.

Scrutiny of health committee chair, Cllr Jim Clark, said: "The concern is that these temporary changes become permanent changes, as we have seen in the past.

"[We] understand that the NHS in the North of England suffers from shortages of key staff and we have been kept fully informed of the extensive work that has been done by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to support critical care services at the Friarage.

"The committee will be interested to hear what the long-term plan is and when critical care services will be returned to the Friarage."