North Staffordshire community health council is to refer plans to reconfigure local services to health secretary Frank Dobson, despite a health authority undertaking to submit a revised proposal for consultation next month. CHC members took the step in protest at North Staffordshire HA's proposal to cut elderly continuing care beds by almost half over five years .

The CHC had legal advice that it would be better to wait until publication of the HA's final document, admitted chief officer Jane Dunkley, but she said members felt strongly.