PREGNANT women in Melksham will have to make new birthing plans after Trowbridge maternity unit temporarily closed its doors due to staff shortages.
Long-term sickness and staff vacancies elsewhere have been blamed for the decision to close Trowbridge Birth Centre until 29th September.
However, it is feared by many in the community that the maternity unit will not re-open after the staff shortages are resolved, although this has been denied by health chiefs.
Women who are due to have their babies between now and the end of September will have to make alternative arrangements and make the trip to either Bath or Chippenham.
The current Trowbridge midwifery team will be moved to provide cover at other NHS maternity sites, including Chippenham Birth Centre and the Princess Anne Wing at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.
The Trowbridge Birth Centre sees an average of 28 births per month.
Service managers at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, which has responsibility for maternity services in Wiltshire, have apologised for the inconvenience. Its head of midwifery, Christina Rattigan said, “The decision is only a temporary one and has not been taken lightly.
“We have recently recruited six midwives due to start over the summer and a further three posts will be recruited to by the end of July.
“When normal staffing levels return, we will resume normal service at Trowbridge at the end of September.”
The decision has caused some concern amongst Melksham residents with fear that the unit will not re-open. Karen Rowland said, “ I can’t believe it. I gave birth to all my children there and was there at the birth of my nephew, grandson and niece too.
“A lovely welcoming and calm place. Will be a real shame to lose it. What is going on with the government?”
Melkshamevents.com on Facebook also commented, “It’s poor that Melksham continues to grow in population and houses, yet our services do not reflect this.”
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