Mums-to-be will be aware of the national efforts being made to ensure women are supported by a partner, relative or friend throughout their pregnancy and birth during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust recognises how important this is to the women and families it supports across the borough and has been working hard to keep everyone as safe as possible and maintain vital services throughout this challenging time.
Last autumn, birth partners were able to start attending 20 week scans with mums-to-be at Walsall Manor Hospital and the trust appreciates how much of a difference this has made at this anxious time.
Regrettably, the trust is now having to temporarily suspend these arrangements as it reviews all processes in both antenatal care and across maternity services to ensure that everyone who comes into the hospital site is kept as safe as possible whilst also taking care of its own staff who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic.
Carla Jones-Charles, the trust’s Divisional Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Sexual Health and Alan Deacon, Divisional Director of Clinical Support Services, said: “We want to be able to ensure that women have the support they need in pregnancy and birth and not just at their 20 week scans which is why we have taken this difficult, but temporary, decision to review all arrangements.
“We absolutely understand how disappointing this will be; we know this is an extremely anxious time for mums-to-be and our hearts go out to them. But we have to prioritise their safety above everything else. We can’t ignore the high incidence of Covid-19 infection in the local population and as a responsible organisation have to review and update all of our risk assessments currently in place.
“We want to be able to welcome supporting partners, family or friends in as soon as we can and are planning to introduce, as soon as possible, lateral flow testing so that we can be assured that only Covid-negative individuals are attending our Antenatal Clinic appointments. “We also have a responsibility to our own staff and need to protect them as much as we can too.
“This is very much a temporary restriction. All of us in Maternity Services want women to know that we are doing all we can, as quickly as we can, to be able to change things for them.”
It is so important that women attend their antenatal appointments so we can check that all is well with baby as well as mums-to-be. Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust wants women to continue to use its maternity services as usual, particularly if they are worried about:
- Feeling unwell
- Reduced baby movements/Change in baby movements