JUST when everybody thought the decision to expand the neonatal, baby and children's services at the Royal Bolton Hospital into a regional super unit was cut and dried, there has been a political hitch.

Salford and Bury maternity units, backed by their MPs, have fought so hard that the Government has been forced into referring the original decision to an Independent Reconfiguration Panel.

Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury, is the Government minister responsible for maternity services and Salford MP Hazel Blears, is Labour Party chairman, and both have vigorously campaigned for the super unit to be sited in their area.

We hope that once the independent panel sees the overwhelming evidence in favour of giving Bolton the go-ahead, the members will see the light and reaffirm the original decision.

Why has this decision been referred back? We hope it is not because the two most vociferous MPs are Labour Party big-hitters.

The reasoning behind a decision like this must be seen to be open and should not be influenced by any political wheeling and dealing.

We hope our three MPs, one of whom is a Government minister, are equally vocal behind the scenes, fighting for the Bolton corner.