MATERNITY unit changes has sparked 1700 responses from people including 800 from Wiltshire after it was proposed that Trowbridge unit would stop delivering babies.

Experts from Bath University will now analyse the responses from members of the public who reacted to a consultation that could see Trowbridge and Paulton stop delivering babies and Chippenham lose its post-natal beds.

The Consultation closed on February 24.

One of the responses was from Chippenham Town Council, which raised concerns about losing its post natal beds and rejected the CCGs claims that the beds were left empty for the majority of the time.

Chippenham Town Council stated: “Taking away valued overnight bed provision in Chippenham will mean mothers and families will need to travel long distances to main hospitals, which will hit the poorest and least able, hardest.

“We believe that the demand for these beds is not as low as portrayed in the document and will increase over time, since Chippenham’s population is set to increase substantially and the closure of Trowbridge would mean more women coming to Chippenham.

“Whilst Wiltshire Council is making plans to substantially grow the population of towns like Trowbridge and Chippenham, the CCG seems to be working in an opposite direction, closing units and removing post-natal beds.”

Lucy Baker, acting director for maternity services at Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Lead Director for the project said: “The consultation closed on February 24 and we had 1700 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 time.

“We are delighted that 1700 took part. We were expecting around 1000 so to get nearly double shows the engagement we have had has worked.”

Any changes could begin from summer 2019.