Most patients who have studied NHS proposals to move obstetrics and emergency surgery services around the region, ranked journey times as the least important factor.
A focus group consisting of 10,000 members of the public was convened so the complex early plans, which may affect Northampton General Hospital, could be explained.
They were asked to rank their priorites and most said getting safe and high quality care was most important to them. And more than six out of 10 participants reported they would be prepared to travel further to access a better service.
Steve Lowden, independent chairman of Healthier Together’s Patient and Public Advisory Group, said: “These findings are consistent with what local people have been telling us about travel and transport, they are concerned about the prospect of longer journeys particularly if it means extra cost or more inconvenience for families. But, the most important factor for the vast majority has been highest service quality possible.”