A PUBLIC consultation on the future of north Essex’s maternity services will be launched next month.

It will centre on whether maternity units in Clacton and Harwich should be open for births 24/7 or only be opened at the request of a pregnant woman who will imminently give birth.

The consultation, to be run by the North East Essex clinical commissioning group, will run from October 15 to December 10 and will include a series of public events in Colchester, Clacton and Harwich.

Campaigner Jenny Semple said: "I think it is going to be a paper exercise. My view is not going to change.

"With Harwich Valley changing the amount of retail and putting in extra houses there is going to be more people living here and fewer facilities.

"It would be nice to actually use the whole of the maternity unit.

"If they opened it full time it would relieve the pressure on Colchester and put peoples’ minds at rest down here. It would be the most sensible decision."