A HEALTH review which put the future of the Whittington Hospital's A&E department is to be halted by the new health secretary.

Campaigners feared the Archway hopsital, in Magdala Avenue, would lose its 24-hour status under the plans drawn up by Healthcare for London, which would have dramatically changed the types of services offered by north London hospitals.

The NHS claimed the closure of A&E wards in favour of specialist centres in central London was in the best interests of patients, and help save £5billion a year by 2016.

However, Andrew Lansley has called a halt to the plans and ordered the organisation to go back to the drawing board and look at their plans again.

He said: "As I promised before the election, I am calling a halt to NHS London's reconfiguration of NHS services.

"A top-down, one-size fits all approach will be replaced with the devolution of responsibility to clinicians and the public, with an improved focus on quality.

"It will be centred on a sound evidence base, support from GP commissioners and strengthened arrangements for public and patient engagement, including local authorities."

However, Ruth Carnall, chief executive of NHS London said the original review by Labour's Lord Darzi showed current systems would not meet the needs for Londoners in the future.

She added: "The Secretary of State is clear that GPs must take the lead in deciding which services are provided locally.

"He is also clear that Londoners must have a bigger say on the shape of local services and be able to make informed choices on where they go to receive care.

"Over the next few months we will be working with GPs and other clinicians to understand how best to support them as they deliver the urgently needed improvements to London’s healthcare."

She added more information would be released by NHS London in the future to support any proposed changes to services.