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New maternity hospital guidelines to offer 'as open access as possible'

New guidelines on partner access to maternity units will note that restrictions must be kept at t...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

07.11 1 Sep 2021


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New maternity hospital guideli...

New maternity hospital guidelines to offer 'as open access as possible'

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

07.11 1 Sep 2021


Share this article


New guidelines on partner access to maternity units will note that restrictions must be kept at the minimum needed to prevent the spread of COVID.

The HSE is meeting with patient advocates today to finalise the new guidelines, which are due to be published later this week.

Many women have been forced to attend scans, labour and childbirth without support through the pandemic, despite the HSE directing hospitals to ease restrictions.

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Maternity units have continued to follow their own rules on visits despite repeated demands from the Government for restrictions to be standardised around the country.

Over two months ago, the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told Newstalk that every hospital in Ireland would have the same rules in place by the end of the day.

That was more than a month after he originally expressed frustration at the refusal of some maternity hospitals to allow partners to attend during scans and birth.

Confusion

The confusion caused widespread anger and distress for pregnant people and their partners – with hospitals accused of “simply doing whatever they want” despite repeat warnings from Government and the HSE.

Labour leader Alan Kelly told Newstalk that partner visits must return to normal in late October.

“When we are lifting all restrictions - when nightclubs are going to be open and we are going to see full attendance at events - the ideas that we would still have some restrictions on partners and husbands in hospitals when their loved ones are having babies is absolutely scandalous and wrong,” he said.

Scandalous

He said it is scandalous that the issue has dragged on this long.

“It is totally wrong,” he said. “It is really one of the things during the pandemic that I really feel so sorry for.

“I have spoken to women who have been so badly affected by this and will be affected for a long time because of the decisions that were made by others which were totally and utterly wrong and unfair.”

Last night, the Taoiseach said the new guidelines on maternity access will be published in the coming days.

He said the aim is to have “as open access as possible” for partners.


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