Two leading Royal Colleges are urging the NHS to publish guidance on partners attending antenatal, postnatal and other maternity appointments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The NHS has announced a delay in publishing the guidance which has been viewed as “unacceptable” by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).
They say that it is not only causing confusion, but stress for pregnant women their families.
RCM CEO, Gill Walton, said: “It’s completely unacceptable that NHS England has been dragging their feet and delaying the publication of the guidance. The RCM and RCOG worked together to support NHS England to complete draft guidance in early August, yet here we are, over a month on with still no publication.
“Not only is this causing distress to pregnant women and their families, it is also impacting on our members, some of whom who has faced abuse from visitors unable to attend appointments. We recognise there is the need to vary local rules depending on circumstances, such as staffing levels and locally-imposed restrictions due to rising levels of COVID, but we urge NHS England to stop the delay and publish the guidance for all concerned.”
Without the guidance, the Royal Colleges say it is causing inequity across maternity services with some fully open and other keeping restrictions that were put in place during the nationwide lockdown.
President of the RCOG, Dr Edward Morris, adds: “We are extremely grateful for those at NHSE/I who have worked with us thus far to produce the framework and who are working hard to put it out into the public domain. Nevertheless, we are extremely frustrated that this framework has still not been published by NHSE/I as the ongoing delay is causing acceptable harm to the wellbeing of pregnant women and their partners.”
It is unknown when the guidance will be published.
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