A review of maternity services across the Health Service Executive's West / North West Hospitals Group has been shelved.

In a statement this afternoon, the group said planned discussions with staff and members of the public about the provision of services were being suspended.

The issue of the way in which maternity services are delivered to mothers will now be examined as part of a national review, which is being led by the Department of Health.

Earlier this month, Hospital Group Chairman Noel Daly resigned, following controversy over his 50% shareholding in a company that carried out a review of maternity units in five hospitals in the region. The contract did not go to tender.

The report presented a number of options regarding future operations across the region and had led to fears in some areas about the continued operation of the units. 

In May, the HSE said the procurement of services by the hospital group was in breach of national financial regulations.

West / North West Hospitals chief executive Bill Maher said the group was committed to ensuring women received best care in the most appropriate setting.

He said this would be demonstrated by the appointment of a new director of midwifery services, who will soon take office.