Partners welcomed back to most maternity scans and all stages of labour

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have had to limit visitors on the wards. Nowhere has this been felt more than maternity.

Free coffee morning for recent new mums

Hospital staff were faced with routinely asking women to attend scans alone and partners were only allowed to delivery suites during the stages of active labour. The situation was difficult for everyone – mums, partners and staff.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is implementing the guidance from NHS England to ensure safety procedures are in place to allow partners to attend scans and all stages of labour.

Partners are now invited to attend EPAC scans and will be invited to dating, anomaly and nuchal scans will commence from Monday 30 November. Partners will not be able to attend the growth scan to allow a balance in keeping staff and patients safe.

For those mums with an appointment in the next two weeks the Trust will call and let them know and those with an appointment more than two weeks away will receive a further letter with updated information about partners being welcome to the appointment.

The move follows the Trust’s earlier change to allow partners to attend the 12-week antenatal scan in September.

Steph El-Malak, head of midwifery at the Trust, said: “This has been an awful situation for everyone. Getting ready to have a baby should be a joyous family occasion, full of excitement. It’s certainly how our midwives feel, no matter how long they’ve been in the job.

“But this year it’s been different. Having to limit partners’ involvement in their baby’s scans and delivery has been heart-breaking. It’s been upsetting for everyone.

“I’m just thrilled that we can now open up our scans and delivery suites for the entire duration of the labour. Welcome back!”

In order to safely allow partners to attend the scans, the scanning rooms will be thoroughly cleaned after each appointment.

This will result in appointments being shared across both the University Hospital of North Tees or University Hospital of Hartlepool Hospital. The Trust recognises this may cause some inconvenience but asks for understanding that this is unavoidable.

Partners invited to 12-week maternity scans

While the Trust has implemented strict infection control procedures, staff are reminding the public that reducing the chances of infection of COVID-19 remains everyone’s responsibility.

Steph commented: “We have a duty to our patients, babies and staff to do all we can to minimise infection and we’ll be insisting that all partners follow every safety protocol we have in place.

“From wearing masks at all times to remaining in the delivery suite throughout the duration of labour, partners must follow the instructions of staff every step of the way. This protects everyone – mum, baby, the partner and our staff who of course have a responsibility to many other families.

“We also want to remind mums-to-be and their partners to follow the government advice on COVID-restrictions as we prepare to leave lockdown and to remember ‘Hands-Face-Space’ at all times.

What you do outside hospital impacts our scanning rooms and delivery suites.

“Please do what it takes to avoid bringing COVID-19 into our hospitals.”

One birth partner is allowed, who will be required to remain on the delivery suite for the duration of the labour to limit the risk of infection. All partners are asked not to come to the hospital if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

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