Guidance on maternity unit visits across East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust scaled down following high coronavirus cases in community
Guidance on maternity unit visits across the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) has been scaled down down due to high numbers of Covid-19 cases in the community and an increasing number of pregnant people with the virus in their hospitals.
The new changes, which will come into effect tomorrow, are:
- Only one named birthing partner may accompany someone in labour from the point of their admission to the maternity unit.
- Visiting to antenatal and postnatal wards at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals will be from 10.30am to 6.30pm every day for one named visitor (this should be the birthing partner). Outside of labour, someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 cannot have a visitor on antenatal and postnatal wards.
Giles Thorpe, chief nurse and director of Infection Prevention and Control at ESNEFT, said: “We’re making the very difficult decision to restrict some visiting in our maternity units due to the high number of Covid-19 infections in the community and the increasing number of pregnant people with the virus in our hospitals.
“Covid-19 is also having a significant impact on staffing in maternity and making these changes will mean we can continue to provide high quality, safe care to pregnant people and their babies.
“This isn’t what we want to do, but it is what have to do so we can continue to keep everyone safe in our hospitals.
“We will be keeping this situation under close and regular review, and we will ease the restrictions as quickly and as safely as possible.
"However, we can’t rule out that further restrictions may be needed if infections and hospital admissions continue to rise.
“The situation we are facing reiterates the importance of getting vaccinated against the virus and I would urge anyone who is expecting a baby, or planning to have a baby, to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine.
"It is the best way to prevent you from becoming seriously unwell and needing hospital treatment and it will help to keep you and your baby safe during your pregnancy.”
Birthing partners wanting to be on hospital sites are being reminded they cannot if they have tested positive for coronavirus, or if they have any Covid-19 symptoms. They must also wear a face mask when visiting.
Expectant parents are encouraged to have a second birthing partner on standby, should their preferred birthing partner test positive for coronavirus.
Birthing partners are being urged to:
- Maintain a two-metre distance from staff in the birthing room.
- Wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth at all times – birthing partners will be asked to leave the hospital building if they refuse to do so.
- Stay at the bedside (apart from when taking bathroom breaks) and remain in the birthing room with their partner.
For detailed guidance on attending maternity appointments or visiting other maternity departments, go to: www.esneft.nhs.uk/your-visit/coronavirus/maternity-covid-guidance