Guidance on reintroducing partners attending maternity care appointments has been published by NHS England.
The framework has been created in collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Society and College of Radiographers, in partnership with NHS England and NHS Improvement.
The guidance has been published shortly after RCM and RCOG urged the NHS for it to be published following a delay.
Commenting on the publication, RCM CEO Gill Walton said: “Visiting restrictions during the pandemic have been challenging for everybody, particularly for pregnant women and their families at an incredibly important and transformative time in their lives.
“These new guidelines are good news for them and for staff. They set out clearly the rules around visiting, providing much needed clarity about who can visit and the precautions they need to take to ensure visits can be safely done for themselves, for the people they are visiting, and for staff.
“The guidance will also be welcome by maternity staff who have experienced some aggression from a small minority of visitors, unhappy and confused with varying and changing guidance.”
Before the guidance was published, some maternity services were permitting visitors while others causing some inconsistencies and confusion.
President of RCOG, Dr Edward Morris, added: “This is an important step for the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and their partners, who have understandably found it difficult not to share the experience of a pregnancy scan, attend important appointments, support women in early labour or spend time with their new born babies on the postnatal ward.
“With the re-introduction of partners in maternity settings, it’s important that anyone attending hospitals and clinics for appointments and scans wears a face covering and ensures they practice social distancing and regular hand washing. These measures are in place to keep pregnant women, partners and staff safe.”
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