Time for consistency from maternity units to ensure fair treatment of all pregnancies – Doherty

13th August 2021 - Regina Doherty

It is time for maternity units across the country to show consistency in their treatment of the Covid-19 guidelines to ensure fair treatment of all pregnancies, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Leader of Seanad Éireann, Senator Regina Doherty, welcomed yesterday’s announcement from The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, that they have updated their guidelines to allow unrestricted visitation for partners of pregnant people.

Senator Doherty said: “I have been in communication with the HSE on the hugely problematic maternity restrictions throughout the pandemic and I want to see further progress on this as soon as possible.

“It is simply unsustainable and not acceptable for the various maternity units across the country to be taking different approaches to this matter. We cannot continue with this postcode lottery for pregnancies.

“In particular, partners or support people must be allowed proper access to the 20-week anomaly scan. This is a very important moment during a pregnancy and unfortunately for some, can cause great distress. Dr Peter Boylan has highlighted the change they have implemented in Holles Street in the interest of public health, whereby the partner or support person waits outside and then comes into the hospital once the 20-week scan is underway. Whatever compromise works to ensure that nobody is left alone facing this scan must be taken. All maternity units must look at this compromise approach.

“I welcome the fact that HSE CEO Paul Reid has responded positively to the calls by campaigners for a roadmap on the continued easing of maternity restrictions. We now need to see the publication of such roadmap as soon as possible.

“I have long been an advocate for the use of antigen testing in certain sectors to ease the reopening of society. It is clear that rapid antigen tests could be used in the maternity hospital setting to give additional peace of mind to health staff when partners are accompanying the pregnant person to appointments and maternity wards. Again, I welcome Paul Reid’s commitment to look at this and I would like to see it expedited”, Senator Doherty concluded.

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