FOUR maternity units are to close as part of a shake-up of hospital services.
Health bosses at 13 primary trusts in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area decided to replace the units with eight centres of excellence.
It follows the Government's decision to uphold a move to move all consultant-led maternity services from Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, which will be transferred to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax.
Huddersfield Royal Infirmary will be left with a midwife-led maternity unit - forcing mothers who need specialist services to travel to Halifax.
The hospitals affected in Greater Manchester are Fairfield in Bury, Rochdale Infirmary, Trafford and Salford Hope.
Salford will also lose its neonatal intensive care unit.
Macclesfield General opted out of the decision process and will carry out its own review of maternity services.
The closure of the units, expected within the next three to five years, follows a public consultation on healthcare by the NHS's Making It Better Review.
About 51,000 people responded to the survey.
Leila Williams, director of the NHS's children, young people and families network, said: "The changes agreed will bring massive improvements to the healthcare provided to women, children and babies.
"Creating centres of excellence for in-patient maternity, children's and neonatal care will save lives."
The centres of excellence for maternity and children's services will be at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan, Royal Bolton, Royal Oldham, St Mary's, Stepping Hill, Wythenshawe, North Manchester General and Tameside General.
Rochdale MP Paul Rowen said: "This is a kick in the teeth for the north of Greater Manchester and I will be asking the Health Scrutiny Committee to ask the Secretary of State for Health to review this decision.
"This means that there will be no childcare, maternity and paediatrics in Bury or Rochdale."