Changes to maternity rules underway at Lister and New QEII hospitals after pressure from soon-to-be mums
PUBLISHED: 16:48 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:18 25 September 2020
New measures on pregnancies, scans and child birth are set to take affect in the Lister and New QEII hospitals from today, after a collective of local women raised concerns about recently introduced maternity rules.
Parents to be who attend East and North Herts NHS Trust hospitals, including Stevenage’s Lister Hospital and the New QEII in Welwyn Garden City, have been subject to a number of COVID-related restrictions that were introduced in April.
These include limitations on the number of visitors allowed at certain points during the pregnancy, including scans and outpatient appointments.
Vicky Lane, who is 21 weeks into her second pregnancy, has been raising awareness of these restrictions – by contacting the Trust, MPs and also garnering support from fellow mums online.
She said: “I know many who have either already had an extra traumatic birth due to not being allowed their partner there to support them, or are incredibly anxious as they attend scans alone hoping it won’t be bad news.”
Vicky has set up an online petition to try and pressure the Trust into easing some restrictions on maternity care at their hospitals.
More than 500 people have currently signed to indicate their support.
Lucy Stevens, another mum-to-be from Stevenage, says it has been “difficult” for herself and her husband having to go through pregnancy with these restrictions.
She said: “These restrictions have just added to my anxiety. Just because I fall under Lister maternity, I have to face the majority of this experience alone instead of sharing it with my husband.
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“I know the rules are not going to change in time for me but others should not have to go through this.
“Having a baby should be the best time in your life and although we are very excited to meet the little one, it has equally been a sad time and I have felt alone with my husband feeling no part of it.
“I don’t want other women and their partners to go through this.”
But now, the East and North Herts NHS Trust have responded and say they will be making alterting their maternity policies.
Rachael Corser, chief nurse at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, said: “We have listened to concerns raised about our maternity visiting restrictions and – working closely with the local Maternity Voices Partnership, who provide a voice for those who use our maternity services – have made changes to our visiting policy.
“From today, the women’s chosen birthing partner can attend from the start of the birthing process and all other assessments which are undertaken in an individual room on our consultant-led and midwifery-led units.
“We are also committed from Monday, October 5 to ensuring a woman’s partner or chosen support person can attend what is known as the 20-week scan.
“We appreciate that these changes do not go as far as many would like, and we will continue to review our policy.
“Our biggest challenge is how we can accommodate partners or family members while keeping safe the women and babies in our care, and our maternity teams will be there to support them every step of the way.”
You can view Vicky’s online petition by clicking here.
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