A consultation into plans to permanently stop births taking place at three rural midwife-led units will not begin until later this year.

The plans for the units in Oswestry, Bridgnorth and Ludlow had expected to be put to the public this month for an eight week consultation.

But health bosses have confirmed they are still waiting for the go ahead from NHS England.

However, they are still expected to be put to the public before the end of the year.

The three units have been closed for almost two years, but are still used for ante and post-natal care.

Under the plans, women will be able to give birth at either the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Telford's Princess Royal Hospital or at home.

Women will continue to be able to access certain services such as scans and tests at the rural units.

Health bosses are also proposing a number of maternity hubs which will offer support for women before and after birth.

Kate Manning, from the transforming midwifery care programme at Shropshire CCG, said: "We are hoping that the consultation is going to be going out later this year. We don't have a date yet.

"It's still subject to change as it has to go through the assurance process with NHS England.

"We don't know if it's going to be the final thing going forward."

Ms Manning said that once NHS England has signed off the proposals they will come back to a joint board meeting of Shropshire and Telford CCGs for approval before going to the public.

Health bosses previously said more than 98 per cent of women were choosing to give birth away from the rural units.