KEEPING maternity services in Trowbridge is crucial for the area’s rapidly increasing population, say councillors opposing the closure of the unit.

They feel military families being repatriated and new housing developments in Westbury mean the birthing unit in Trowbridge must stay open for expectant mothers. Speaking to the full town council on Tuesday night, the Clinical Commissioning Group outlined plans to move midwives from Trowbridge to new midwife-led birthing units at Bath RUH and Salisbury Hospital.

Trowbridge and Paulton’s birthing units are due to stop delivering babies, but Chippenham and Frome will stay open for births.

Cllr Peter Fuller said: “There is a place for freestanding units because you are going to keep two, I would suggest keeping one open in Trowbridge because that is where the large population is. Sometimes it can be two hours to get to the RUH. Mothers will have that to worry about. People in Trowbridge won’t be very happy with the NHS.”

Just 149 of the 11,000 births in Wiltshire and BANES (Bath and North East Somerset) took place in Trowbridge birthing unit last year, as more women opted to give birth in a larger hospital.

Acting director for maternity services, Lucy Baker, said: “Trowbridge mums are not choosing to give birth in Trowbridge. This is not about saving money or cutting jobs. Any money that is saved will be invested back in maternity. We want to hear from mums and mums of the future so we can find out what people think of our plans.”

Cllr Kirk compared the experience his family had in both Bath and Trowbridge, where his two children were born. He said: “In Trowbridge there was a stark contrast to the service of care. I can’t get away from the feeling you are taking a choice away, of being able to give birth in Trowbridge.”

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