We are working hard to ensure that we are providing the best and safest care for you and your families, as well as ensuring our midwives are safe during these difficult times. We are continuously reviewing our processes and as a result of this, a difficult decision has been made to limit Birth partner visiting in the postnatal period and suspend stays on the postnatal wards with immediate effect.
Under current Department of Health recommendations, staff on the maternity unit are wearing PPE for all patient contact. This helps to protect mothers and babies as well as staff from possible transmission of COVID-19. Limiting postnatal visiting and overnight stays in the department will support and reduce this risk further.
During social distancing recommendations from the Government, we already have made the difficult decision to limit birth partners to one nominated person during early labour, labour and birth. This person cannot swap with any other and should be well and not recently exposed to Covid-19.
The change to visiting is as follows:
- Birth partners are permitted to attend with women who come in for an induction of labour to the Antenatal Ward and stay for the following labour duration and birth.
- All other antenatal women. Visiting for these women will be 09.00 to 21.00 hours. This is limited to the birth partner only.
- Birth partners are permitted to attend with women for their elective caesareans and up to 21.00 hours whilst they are on the postnatal ward.
- Visiting for Birth partners only on the postnatal ward is 09.00 hours to 21.00hours. There is no overnight visiting.
- Exceptions may be made on compassionate grounds. Please discuss these with midwife in charge.
This decision is based on a number of factors including relocation of wards, reduced postnatal beds and space capacity, social distancing requirements and the lack of appropriate facilities in the ward areas to safely accommodate partners overnight. This limitation has been put in place in line with national guidance to keep you, your babies, your families and NHS staff safe.
Be reassured that if women attend for an early labour assessment, a birth partner can attend Maternity Assessment Unit with them if they are well and this has been advised following a maternity triage telephone assessment. If women are found to be in labour and ready for admission to Labour Ward, the same birth partner can go with them and stay for the following labour duration and birth.
We understand how difficult these changes will be for women and families. Please understand that this decision has not been taken without careful consideration. These decisions have been made to prioritise the safety of mothers, babies and staff during these very challenging, unprecedented times. Advice and regulations may continue to change over the next few weeks and we will endeavour to keep you updated throughout. You can also receive regular updates by following the social media sites of our Maternity Voices Partnership, or contact them with your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org