Continuing maternity restrictions still having detrimental impact on pregnant women and their partners – Doherty

9th September 2021 - Regina Doherty

With plans to lift almost all Covid restrictions by October 22, the continuing draconian measures in our maternity units are having a major, detrimental impact on pregnant women and their partners, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Leader of Seanad Éireann Senator Regina Doherty said, ‘RTE’s programme The Rotunda, aired last night, gave a great insight into the beauty of childbirth and as a mother of four, it brought back many happy memories and emotions associated with the arrival of a new family member. However, I can’t help but feel for the countless parents who were refused access to experience this most important time in their lives and provide much-needed support for their partners before, during and after childbirth.

“On the show, we see the TV crew filming in the maternity units while the partners of the women are locked out in carparks awaiting news. These double standards are insulting to all women who have experienced this treatment and especially to those who suffered miscarriages while their partners sat in their cars in tears.

“The fact that we are still here begging for better maternity care in 2021 is an insult to women, we can and must do better. Women are sick of being ignored.

“It’s the governing structures of the hospitals, not the HSE guidelines or hospital staff, that are failing women. After 19 months of being locked out, it’s high time that the doors are opened again for partners to be there for these women and their new-born babies.

“With nearly 90% of the population over 18 fully vaccinated, it’s simply madness that hospital management are still restricting nominated support partners from being with their partners. In some cases, management are only allowing a two-hour allocated slot for partners to see their own children.

“According to the #BetterMaternityCare campaign group, all 19 maternity hospitals are not complying with HSE guidelines and haven’t been for months.”

Following the recent publication of the updated HSE guidelines on access to maternity services for support partners, which is to be implemented from September 13, Senator Doherty said, ‘’There is an overabundance of caution in the new guidelines and the balance is not in favour of pregnant women accessing compassionate maternal care, while also protecting patients and staff from Covid.

“I am inviting all my female colleagues in the Dáil and Seanad to attend a meeting next week with the leaders of the #BetterMaternityCare campaign group to hear first-hand, the actual lived experiences of these women and men as a call to action for us as politicians,” concluded Senator Doherty.

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