PLANNED changes to maternity care in Wiltshire has sparked 1,700 responses, so many that the people planning the changes have had to give experts analysing the results an extra three months to do so.

Experts from Bath University are working on the responses from members of the public who reacted to a Clinical Commissioning Group consultation which could see Trowbridge and Paulton units top delivering babies and Chippenham lose its post-natal beds.

Lucy Baker, acting director for maternity services at Wiltshire CCG and Lead Director for the project said: “The consultation closed on February 24 and we had 1,700 responses, 800 of which have the Wiltshire postcode.

“We are convening an expert panel which will look into the results of the consultation that Bath University is providing. They are going through it now.

“Originally we expected to hear back at the end of March but because we received more responses than anticipated the university has rightly asked for more time. The expert panel has not had nothing to do with the process so far. We expect to hear back by June.

“We are delighted that 1,700 took part. We were expecting around 1,000 so to get nearly double shows the engagement we have had has worked.”

Speaking about the Trowbridge unit, MP for South West Wiltshire Andrew Murrison said: "I’ve been involved for many years with the birthing unit and it is important for women to have the opportunity of having their delivery at home or close to home as possible if that is what they want. Women have that right to exercise their choice." Any changes could begin from summer 2019.