The National Maternity Hospital has said it will allow unrestricted visitation for partners of pregnant people as part of a major update to its COVID-19 restrictions.
In a post this evening, the Holles Street hospital said inpatients can have one nominated partner with them between 8am and 9pm every day of the week.
Partners are also allowed to be present throughout labour – including from induction in the delivery suite and during caesarean sections – as soon as the mother has been admitted to a bed.
Partners are permitted in the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit and at the 20-week scan; however, women are asked to check in to the appointment alone with partners permitted to join them when they are called for their scan.
The hospital said this was due to space limitations in waiting areas.
⬇️Visiting guidelines update
Our #visitingguidelines are under constant review as we strive to do our very best to help protect women, babies & staff, while providing a safe environment in line with government guidance.
— The National Maternity Hospital (@_TheNMH) August 12, 2021
Visiting will also be unrestricted for partners attending the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department appointments.
Partners are still not permitted to attend antenatal outpatient appointments; however, the hospital said exceptions to the restrictions will be facilitated, “on compassionate grounds and on an individual basis.”
The hospital warned partners may be asked to temporarily leave, “for operational reasons, during mealtimes and to facilitate social distancing at busy times in all areas.”
Face masks are mandatory in the hospital at all times.
“Our visiting guidelines are under constant review as we strive to do our very best to help protect women, babies and staff while providing a safe environment in line with Government guidance,” the hospital said in a statement.
It comes amid ongoing criticism of the differing rules at the 19 maternity units around the country.
The campaign group Better Maternity Care has found that none of the units are currently compliant with all eight scenarios in which the HSE has called for visitation to be permitted.
The group is calling on the Government to announce a detailed roadmap for maternity services by the end of August.
Late last month, the HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said he hoped all Ireland’s hospitals would be fully compliant with HSE guidelines on partners attending maternity units in the coming week.
That came well over a month after the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told The Hard Shoulder that every hospital in Ireland would be following the same rules for partners “by the end of the day.”
In the same interview, he said new rules for emergency situations would be rolled out across the country in the coming weeks.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, the HSE chief Paul Reid said he had asked his officials to bring forward a roadmap “quite quickly.”