** COVID 19 – HOSPITAL POLICIES Update**
We received this response from the Department of Health and the Office of the National Women & Infants Health Programme at 13.09 today April 1st, 2020
“With regard to partners being present during labour, of course it is desirable, and we very much hope, that the impact of Covid-19 on the birthing experience of women is kept to an absolute minimum. The National Women & Infants Health Programme has provided assurance that the midwifery and obstetrical community are mindful of the support provided by partners at the time of birth, and wish to facilitate this as far as possible. However, the reality is that each of our 19 maternity units/hospitals will face significant challenges maintaining staffing, with potential high rates of staff illness, during the current Covid-19 emergency, In that context, an individual unit/hospital may, under certain circumstances, be forced to restrict access of partners to labour wards. It is important to remember that these restrictions are put in place to minimise the risk of spread in the community and to protect hospital staff and patients as much as possible.
In terms of restrictions as they currently stand, the most up to date information available can be accessed from the HSE at https://www2.hse.ie/…/hospital-service-disruptions-covid19.…”
We collated these into a PDF which can be accessed here.
Meanwhile, on the same day (1.04.20) the HSE issued its interim guidelines on the management of suspected COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 in the pregnant and post partum period which categorically states:
“Women should be permitted and encouraged to have a birth partner present with them during labour and birth. Having a trusted birth partner present during labour is known to make a significant difference to the safety and well-being of women in childbirth. Woman attending for intrapartum care who does not have suspected/confirmed COVID-19
Two different responses received on the same day from the HSE. We have received an assurance from Louise O’Reilly TD that this will be raised with the Minister for Health tomorrow, (2.04.20). We will update you with any information we receive.