Trust bosses originally planned to close the unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital and move it to University Hospital of North Durham. The decision was reportedly aimed at improving treatment and reducing hospital stays.

But as reported by the BBC, a recent rise in demand led to the U-turn by the County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust, which also confirmed  a public consultation into the move had ended with immediate effect.

Dr Neil O’Brien, representing the CCGs, said: “Due to unprecedented pressure being placed on the system in recent months, we felt that the proposed model of care would not be deliverable at this time.”