The Independent Reconfiguration Panel is to review the closure of a single ward at a troubled acute trust.

The IRP will look at the closure of Portsmouth Hospital Trust’s end of life care ward in the Queen Alexandra Hospital, it announced last week.

This is the first full review since the announcement of Andrew Lansley’s “four tests” that any reconfiguration must satisfy.

The secretary of state accepted the body’s recommendation that a full review be made.

After an assessment last month the body said it would follow up the referral from Portsmouth city council’s health overview and scrutiny panel.

The IRP is due make its recommendations to the secretary of state by March 2011.

IRP chair Dr Peter Barrett said: “Our job is to consider whether the changes provide the highest possible quality of care for patients. During the course of the review we will gather evidence locally and listen to all interested parties, to ensure that the recommendations we make are in the best interests of local people.”

The trust is one of six listed nationally as financially “challenged” in the Department of Health’s report for the first quarter of 2010-11.

The trust said the closure had been supported by Hampshire county council’s overview and scrutiny committee.