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Maternity ward lockdown rules relaxed at Suffolk and Essex hospitals

PUBLISHED: 08:18 12 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:09 12 July 2020

Colchester Hospital is now allowing partners at inductions Picture: HOLLY HUME

Colchester Hospital is now allowing partners at inductions Picture: HOLLY HUME

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Changes are coming to maternity wards at hospitals in Suffolk and Essex where partners will be given more opportunity to support mums-to-be as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased.

Ipswich Hospital has relaxes some rules on maternity wards Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNIpswich Hospital has relaxes some rules on maternity wards Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which is responsible for Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals, was able to change some policies on its antenatal and postnatal wards on June 25, allowing visitors to see a mother and baby on its wards for the first time in more than three months.

MORE: First changes to maternity ward rules in three months at ESNEFT hospitals

Further measures are being eased from Monday, July 13, including the return of birthing partners at inductions.

Ultrasound scans

Ipswich Hosptial is one of three hospitals where ESNEFT have changed maternity ward rules Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNIpswich Hosptial is one of three hospitals where ESNEFT have changed maternity ward rules Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The rules surrounding ultrasound scans remain the same as July 6.

One adult from the same household can attend 12-week and 20-week scans with a pregnant woman at Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton hospitals.

Both the expectant mum and whoever she brings will be required to wear a face covering during the appointment, which should be brought from home.

Staff will be wearing face masks and PPE for the safety of patients and themselves.

Visiting maternity wards

Women on antenatal and postnatal wards can now receive visitors at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals from the first day they enter the ward.

The ward clerk or healthcare professional looking after her will be able to arrange a visiting slot.

ESNEFT also ask that the same person visits each time, such as the woman’s birth partner. Children cannot visit wards.

Staggered visiting times are running from 10am to 9pm, seven days a week.

ESNEFT ask all visitors to:

• Book a time to visit the ward and stick to the agreed timings

• Wear a face covering when coming into the hospital, which could be a bandana or a scarf

• Observe social distancing at all times

• Wash or sanitise their hands regularly

• Not linger in shops or communal areas

• Not visit if you have Covid-19 symptoms. These are a high temperature, a new continuous cough, loss or change in sense of smell or loss or change in sense of taste

Birthing partners

From July 13, one birthing partner can come to hospital with a woman at the beginning of the induction of labour process and can stay with her until 8pm.

If she needs extra support, or is very likely to go into labour after that time, her birthing partner can stay with her.

If not, maternity staff will ask the partner to go home and they will be called back if labour begins during the night.

Birthing partners should also bring in their own refreshments and facemasks to reduce their movement around the ward.

First day postnatal visiting

From July 13, at-home face-to-face postnatal visiting will also be reintroduced for every woman and baby who is discharged from the postnatal ward.

Community midwives will carry out a risk assessment before visiting a home visit and families will be advised about how they can prepare for the midwife’s visit.

The following restrictions remain in place:

• Only one birthing partner may accompany a woman in labour

• Only one birthing supporter/partner may attend with a woman for an elective Caesarean section

• Only pregnant women may attend maternity triage and antenatal appointments, including appointments with a consultant

Director of Midwifery Anna Shasha said: “Part of our promise to women and their families was that we would introduce changes in maternity services gradually and safely.

“We are really pleased we can further relax the visiting policy on our wards from Monday, July 13 and that women will be able to have someone with them during the induction of labour process.

“We will monitor the changes we are making closely to keep women, their babies and our staff safe. More updates will be shared about any further easing or increasing of restrictions as the pandemic continues.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continue to do our very best to protect women and their babies during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.”


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