A CHANGE in maternity visiting guidance has been praised by an MS.
Janet Finch-Saunders, MS for Aberconwy, said she had received reports that some mothers hadn’t been allowed to take heir partner or another individual of their choice to pivotal appointments and scans.
Rules have now been updated. Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board now say birthing partners, or nominated essential others, will now have to order Lateral Flow (LFD) testing kits and complete a test before attending the hospital for scans; Fetal Medicine Scans and Appointments; Labour and Birth; A Caesarean Birth or visiting inpatients areas on the maternity wards.
All birthing partners or nominated essential other visits will be by appointment into the Inpatient Maternity Wards made directly with the Ward/Department due to limited numbers being allowed in an area at any one time.
Prior to the change, Mrs Finch-Saunders penned her concerns to Eluned Morgan, the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services.
In her reply, Ms Morgan said: “The Welsh Government normally supports a person-centred flexible approach to visiting. However, our first priority is the prevention and control of infection in our healthcare settings. This is to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors themselves.
“It is important that visiting is risk assessed and agreed locally to ensure infection prevention and control measures can be followed. Health providers need to consider local environmental factors such as room size, equipment, distance between beds and the ability to maintain social distancing when making decisions to agree visiting. It is for these reasons that the guidance provides an element of flexibility to health providers.
“Health boards are currently undertaking further risk assessments of all maternity sites to assess whether some restrictions could be lifted whilst still maintaining the safest possible services for women and babies.”
Since the latest change, Mrs Finch-Saunders said: “Ultrasound appointments are an extremely important stage in the maternity journey, providing a key opportunity for parents to see their child. This is why I was so concerned to have received reports that some mothers have been denied the opportunity to have their partner or another individual of their choice by their side at these pivotal appointments.
“Having written to the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services, to outline these concerning local reports and in which I called for an update to the Welsh Government’s hospital visiting guidance which was published in June, health boards were consequently able to undertake further risk assessments of all maternity sites to assess whether some restrictions could be lifted.
“I welcome the significant news that new guidance for BCUHB has now been implemented as, from the middle of this month, nominated partners can attend scans as long as they complete a lateral flow test before attending the hospital. On arrival, nominated partners will also need to be screened for symptoms.
“Visiting considerations will be informed by community Covid-19 transmission rates, hospital Covid-19 admission numbers and outbreaks. Nonetheless, this is an important change which will give some much-needed reassurance to our new parents-to-be as they receive this essential scan information together.”
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