Mums-to-be attending their 20 week scan appointment at Walsall Manor Hospital will be able to be accompanied by their birthing partner from next week after a review of current Covid-19 restrictions.
The new arrangements will start on Monday 12 October 2020 and will be regularly reviewed to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of service users and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust staff.
Donna Perkins, Antenatal Services Manager, and Elaine Brooks, Superintendent Sonographer, said: “We are in no doubt about just how difficult the restrictions have been for our mums-to-be, their partners and families. We thank them for their patience and understanding over these last few months which have been worrying and challenging for us all.
“We have spoken to so many women and families during this time and all of us who work within maternity services absolutely appreciate and understand their frustrations over the necessary measures that we have had to have in place. Our scanning rooms are small, it is difficult to adhere to social distancing and, in line with other trust across the country, we had to prioritise creating the safest environment possible for our mums-to-be while also being mindful of our own staff.
“We have continually reviewed these arrangements and have worked hard to make adjustments that keep everyone as safe as possible and minimise the risk of spreading the virus. The virus hasn’t gone away – we are still in the midst of a pandemic and need to be vigilant.
“We are really pleased to be able to offer our women the option to be accompanied to their 20 week scan by their one birthing partner. Following many discussions with our women they have told us that this is the scan they would prefer to be accompanied, therefore we have worked hard with our infection control and microbiology team to be able to now offer this to our women. Unfortunately we are not able to apply or extend this offer to any other type of scan at this time, but remaining restrictions will continue to be regularly reviewed in line with Government guidance to ensure the safety of our staff and women using our service at all times. We also remind you that children are still not allowed into the department or scan rooms.”
Women will be required to check in alone where they will be issued with a scan ‘track and trace’ slip. This slip must be completed with the details of the person who is accompanying the mum-to-be for their 20 week scan prior to it being performed. Birthing partners will need to remain outside the department until collected for their scan and we ask that partners respect any instruction given by the scanning team. Both mums-to-be and birthing partners are required to wear face coverings at all times – whilst staff will adhere to appropriate PPE.
Please do not attend if you have any of the recognised Covid-19 symptoms of a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in your sense of taste and smell.
Donna and Elaine added: “We will continually review the new arrangements and ask our service users to work with us as we do our best to restore services for all.”