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Wed, 30 September 2020

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Vital new guidance sets out how the NHS can safely allow partners back to maternity wards

Vital new guidance sets out how the NHS can safely allow partners back to maternity wards

In response to Covid-19, we put in place restrictions in maternity wards as part of our national effort to slow the spread of this virus and protect both mothers and our healthcare workers, writes Nadine Dorries MP | PA Images

3 min read

Partners have a vital role; to hold hands through appointments, scans and childbirth – to provide emotional support. Guidance published this week will help the NHS safely bring back visitors into maternity wards, so more people can share in these priceless experiences.

One of the most incredible things about our NHS is the way it brings new life into the world every single day. Having a baby is a precious moment for so many families, and it is only natural that these lifechanging experiences should be shared by a mother and their partner, or loved one. 

In response to Covid-19, we put in place restrictions in maternity wards as part of our national effort to slow the spread of this virus and protect both mothers and our healthcare workers. Because of these rules, partners have largely only been able to attend some of the labour and birth, so have missed out on important memories and the chance to bond with their new baby. 

It has been painful, though, to hear stories of women facing difficult moments and conversations alone. So I have been determined that we resolve this situation as soon as possible.

We have always said that as soon as we were able to change these restrictions, which I know have been so difficult, that we would do so straight away.

Thanks to the hard work of so many, we have been able to carefully restore critical parts of our NHS.

We are now making changes to the way we run maternity care. I am pleased that guidance from medical and midwifery professional bodies has been published this week, to help the NHS safely bring back visitors into maternity wards, so more people can share in these priceless experiences. 

Partners have a vital role; to hold hands through appointments, scans and childbirth – to provide emotional support. I know myself how important a part this is.

The new guidance sets out how the NHS can safely reintroduce measures allowing partners to attend labour and birth, antenatal and postnatal appointments, including pregnancy scans. It clearly sets out the rules around visiting, providing much needed clarity about who can visit and the precautions they must take, for the safety of themselves, their loved ones, and our amazing NHS staff.

If you are visiting somebody in hospital, then please continue to do the little things that can have a big impact in slowing the spread of the virus. Please wash your hands, follow the rules on social distancing, and wear a face covering, unless you are exempt – and of course do not visit anyone if you have Covid-19 symptoms.

This guidance is an important milestone that will bring happiness to many, and will help to make a special experience even more special.

 

Nadine Dorries is the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire and health minister. 

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