The mother of Scots film star Ewan McGregor yesterday led a protest against the proposed closure of the maternity ward which saved her son's life.

Mrs Carol McGregor, 57, said it was crucial for the safety of pregnant women in Perthshire that the maternity unit at Perth Royal Infirmary remained a fully functional health facility.

The former teacher, who lives in Crieff, said the hospital had an invaluable role in the delivery of her now-famous son, who shot to stardom in Trainspotting.

Speaking at a campaign launch to secure the full retention of services at PRI, she said: ''I am right behind this campaign. I gave birth to Ewan at PRI.''

She said his birth was originally straightforward, but there were complications in the second stage.

''If the Perth Royal Infirmary had been a stand-alone, midwife-led unit, which is now under consideration, I would have been transferred to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, which could have been dangerous and very unpleasant.''

It is the second time Mrs McGregor has spoken out on health issues in Scotland. Earlier this year she spoke about her battle with cancer and chastised the health service for the ''watery'' treatment available to women with the disease. This time she is joining forces with the Parents For PRI group, which is demanding the full retention of health services at the hospital.

Tayside Health Board is looking at streamlining services to reduce waiting lists in the region, and campaigners fear that this will lead to a downgrading or even closing of services at PRI.

The group hopes to maintain services at the hospital through lobbying tactics.

In April it organised a 5000-strong demonstration march through the streets of Perth.

As part of the second phase of the campaign, it is distributing postcards throughout the region that it hopes people will sign in support of the hospital.

The group says it hopes to receive about 250,000 postcards back from the public which whey will present to Health Minister Susan Deacon on St Andrews Day, November 30, at the completion of a march in Edinburgh. The demonstration will include busloads of Perthshire residents who want the PRI to remain as it is.

Mrs McGregor has told campaigners she will attend the march, which will go down High Street and end at the Scottish Parliament, and she said she would urge Ewan to also attend.

SNP leader John Swinney also attended the launch of the campaign. He said: ''There is enormous concern in Perthshire - in rural areas as well, not just Perth city - about the access to health care services, and that's going to be diminished if the Health Board has their way in the proposals they are bringing forward. There's an active debate that has to be had and we have to maximise the pressure on the Government.''

Among the chief concerns of campaigners is a decrease in services at PRI's maternity ward.

Campaigners do not believe the ward will be closed completely but is likely to be made into a midwives led facility which would require pregnant women to be transferred to Dundee's Ninewells Hospital.