CAMPAIGNERS say many more mums face giving birth in a taxi or ambulance if proposed changes to stop women having babies in Trowbridge are given the green light.

Since 2014, 92 women have given birth on their way to hospital or without a midwife on hand and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group agrees parents will be forced to travel further to get to either there or the new midwife-led unit planned in Bath. The report says that mums in Trowbridge would face a 30 minutes drive to Bath RUH. However taxi drivers and mums disagree.

Caroline Edwards gave birth in Bath after being transferred from Trowbridge unit and said: “Bath is such a long way to go, it does not take just half an hour, it is a nightmare. The transfer was really bad, it was so painful and when you are in labour everything is uncomfortable.”

Sally Wright, of Sally’s Taxis said: “On a good day you can get there in 30 minutes but with traffic it can take an hour. There is the cost to think about too as it would be £28 but more with traffic. I have never had someone pregnant in the car but I think it would be a worry especially for some male drivers.” Elly Norris gave birth in Trowbridge twice and added: “I had mine within four hours and 90 minutes so if I had a third I would be worried that I would give birth in the car.”

Campaigner Andy Milroy added: “Centralisation of birthing centres has implications and closing local provision runs counter to current government advice. Community birthing units are cheaper, having fewer means heavily pregnant women have to travel further. Babies are not always co-operative and come when they are ready, no matter where they are.”

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We have modelled the potential impact of our proposed changes and are confident that the changes would ease pressures on maternity services as we will have the right number of staff, in the right place at the right time to support women and babies and provide high quality care.” Under their plans, Chippenham could lose five post natal beds that provide a place for women to stay after giving birth. Wiltshire CCG say the beds are empty 95 per cent of the time.

The CCG’s own figures show that since June 2014, 92 mothers in the Trowbridge and Paulton birthing unit areas, from where everyone would have to travel if both units are closed, gave birth before reaching hospital or at home before a midwife was present. A recent questionnaire into women’s experiences of births found the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust to be performing above national standards.

The Care Quality Commission 2018 Survey of Women’s Experience of Maternity Care heard from 170 mothers who gave birth in the area, who praised the kindness and understanding of their midwives. Have your say on the CCG proposals until February 24 here: