HEALTH bosses will be up before councillors next week to explain themselves over plans to potentially close a hospital ward.

On Thursday, November 15, members of Durham County Council’s Adults, Wellbeing and Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee will have the chance to grill managers from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust following concerns for Ward 6, at Bishop Auckland Hospital.

Concerns were initially raised last month when staff received letters informing them of a consultation to close the 24-bed step-down ward by the middle of November.

However, after reports in The Northern Echo highlighting the issue, the chairman of the scrutiny committee, Councillor John Robinson, wrote to the Trust to express concerns over a lack of a formal public consultation and the Trust agreed to "pause" any closure plans until after the meeting.

The proposals prompted a petition to Parliament led by the town's MP, Helen Goodman, as well as a protest march and public meeting.

Trust bosses will now be asked about the plans, particularly proposals to offer more care in the community.

A spokesperson for the Trust, said: “On October 1, 2018, the Trust started a staff consultation about how we best manage the delivery of step-down care for patients and in particular the delivery of these services from ward 6 at Bishop Auckland Hospital. The Trust is discussing the proposal with health and social care partners including the local overview and scrutiny committee and will attend a meeting of the committee on November 15 to discuss further.”