NHS emergency access czar Professor Sir George Alberti has been asked to review one of London's most contentious reconfigurations.

Primary care trusts across Barnet, Enfield and Haringey were due to start consulting last month on a range of options which could have seen the loss of accident and emergency services from Chase Farm Hospital. A pre-consultation phase which opened in September examined 10 possible scenarios.

On Friday, NHS London announced that Sir George had been asked to work with the local NHS and offer 'an independent view on the clinical case for change'. He will start work in March, delaying consultation.

Sir George's national report on emergency access, published in December, set out the need to change how emergency care is delivered.

The intervention followed a letter from Enfield North MP Joan Ryan to health secretary Patricia Hewitt, criticising a lack of 'research, impact assessments and evidence on which any informed decision could be made' about the scenarios under consideration. Ms Ryan also complained that the consultation had failed to accurately analyse A&E use at Chase Farm and its neighbours Barnet Hospital and North Middlesex Hospital.

Plans to change services across the patch have been delayed several times. Proposals to reconfigure children's and maternity services at the trust were put on hold in Autumn 2004 following an apparent warning from the DoH about the need to avoid 'negative publicity' in the run-up to an election.

Proposals for change have met widespread public opposition. Last year campaigners won two seats on Enfield Council, polling over 12,000 votes for the Save Chase Farm Party.

A report on concerns over the breast cancer screening programme run by Barnet and Chase Farm trust is expected to be published within weeks.

The service was suspended in December after Haringey teaching primary care trust asked the national breast screening programme quality assurance team to evaluate the service, following a 'serious undisclosed incident'.

A spokesman for Barnet and Chase Farm said that it would be discussing interim arrangements for a screening service with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey PCTs, to whom it provides the service.