Widespread objections to service cuts proposed by a health authority facing a projected pounds18m deficit have forced the postponement of public consultation to allow more time for talks with health professionals and local councillors.

Worcestershire HA chief executive Pat Archer-Jones said the delay would allow more time to 'refine the clinical and financial implications' of six options for change. The public consultation, originally due to start last month, will now begin in February.

Worcestershire British Medical Association chair Anthony Cole is urging all 900 local doctors to take part in discussions on the future of the county's hospitals. Doctors needed to ensure discussions on future health plans would be 'professionally led' instead of having decisions imposed on them.