MUMS have spoken out against a decision that could see Trowbridge maternity unit stop delivering babies in the future.

Details of plans that would see the unit only provide pre and post-natal support were shared by the Clinical Commissioning Group that runs maternity services across the county. The CCG said mums were increasingly worried about being transferred via an ambulance from the community unit to hospital if there were complications or needed further medical procedures such as a caesarean.

The plan comes in response to a consultation of 2000 women, staff and midwives in which mums said they wanted to give birth nearer hospital care for fear of complications during birth.

However parents who have used the service on Adcroft Street, praised the hard work of the midwives and called for the service to be saved. The unit has seen a decline in use over the last five years and supported 147 births in 2017, typically delivering just one baby every two to three days. Chippenham birth centre, which delivered 177 babies last year, will continue providing its birthing service under the plans. Across Bath and North East Somerset, Wiltshire and Swindon, 11,247 babies were born in the same period.

Both of Paul Martin’s children were born there and the TV personality and antiques expert said: “It is the jewel in Trowbridge’s crown and this would be a huge shame. They were brilliant, it was not as scary as I thought it might be as a new dad. It is a sign of changing times but I hope the full picture has been considered.”

Leigh Robinson gave birth to all three of her children in Trowbridge and said: “Women who can’t drive or are in early stages of labour can get there fairly hassle free to be checked and made to feel relaxed at such a nerve wracking time. I had the pleasure of having all 3 of my children there although my original choice for my first was bath. I think they are far more personal and caring at Trowbridge, after having a visit to bath whilst in early stages with my first i’d never go back. it’s an asset to the community and would be a shame to see it lost.”

Under new plans, two new alongside midwifery Units, one at Salisbury District Hospital and one at the Royal United Hospital would be opened and Trowbridge would only offer support for mums before and after birth.

Acting director for maternity services Lucy Baker said: “We want all mums to have a lovely healthy baby and mums want to feel safe. Mums are telling us they want to feel safe and to feel safe they need to be near acute hospital to have their baby. We are really proud of all our services but we need to listen to our mums and provide an alternative. That is between the hospital and the free standing unit that allows mums to have a midwife led birth with help that is on their doorstep.” All staff will remain at the unit providing pre natal and post natal care, or be transferred to one of the new alongside midwifery units.

Sarah Merritt, head of nursing and midwifery at Royal United Hospital, Bath, said: “Some of the changes we are proposing are because, particularly at the RUH, certain services are underused and we are often staffing empty buildings and beds. 85% of women give birth in one of the three Obstetric Units with fewer than 6% giving birth across our four Freestanding Midwifery Units in Chippenham, Trowbridge, Paulton and Frome.

“In our Freestanding Midwifery Units - particularly at night - staff are covering areas even when there are no or very few births. On average only one baby is delivered every two or three days in each of these units but they need to be staffed to support births 24 hours a day seven days a week.”