An update on maternity visiting and appointment restrictions at the RD&E

29 Sep 2020

In line with national guidance and in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, on 23 March 2020, we took the difficult decision to implement visitor restrictions across the Trust, which included our maternity services.

While we understand that restrictions to our maternity services are incredibly difficult for mums-to-be and their partners, COVID-19 is highly infectious and can have devastating consequences. Pregnant women have been included in the list of people who are classed as ‘at-risk’, which means they are considered to be more vulnerable than the general population. The restrictions we put in place reduced the footfall through our maternity services, helping us to limit the transmission of the virus and keep women and their babies safe.

On 3 July 2020, in line with updated national guidance, we were able to reduce some of the visiting restrictions that were in place across the Trust.

On 8 September 2020, a national framework to support maternity services with the local reintroduction of partners and visitors was issued. Since the publication of this guidance, we have undertaken several risk assessments across our maternity services to see where restrictions can be safely further reduced.

Following this review, we have taken the decision to further reduce our restrictions. From 29 September 2020:

  • One partner is able to attend the dating and anomaly scan - all other scans, such as growth scans, should be attended alone, though exceptions can be made if we anticipate having to break bad news
  • If a woman is being induced, they can have a partner with them between the hours of 0900hrs and 1700hrs
  • Our staff will continue to contact partners and ask them to attend the unit if, due to pain or distress, support is required

As throughout the whole of the COVID-19 pandemic, if a woman is being cared for in a birth centre, labour ward or in theatre, they can have one birth partner with them. This is usually when they are in labour, having a caesarean or in the immediate postnatal period.

Please note that we have worked closely with our Devon-wide Local Maternity System (LMS) and in collaboration with the Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) to ensure that the views of our local families have been heard, considered, and incorporated into our decision making wherever possible.

We will continue to review our current restrictions, in partnership with the LMS and MVP, so that we remain in line with the changing guidance and can continue to best support women and their babies.

We are unable to answer any individual comments at this time, but if you have any specific concerns about your maternity care, please speak to your midwife.

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