Health secretary Alan Johnson has postponed a crunch decision on two contested service changes in Greater Manchester.

Mr Johnson, who took up the post a month ago today, has requested more time to consider the proposals. The changes were referred by local councils to the independent reconfiguration panel.

It reported its findings to the health secretary at the end of June - but has now been asked to postpone making them public.

The Making it Better consultation covers maternity service changes across Greater Manchester, East Cheshire and High Peak. While Healthy Futures proposed changes to acute services in the north east of the county.

An IRP statement said: 'Following a request from health secretary Alan Johnson, the IRP will postpone publication of recommendations relating to two contested proposals for health service changes in Greater Manchester. The additional time will enable Mr Johnson to fully consider the recommendations.

'The changes proposed by the reviews affect 3.1 million people in the Greater Manchester area. We will announce publication dates for both reports in due course.'