Mums-to-be will be able to attend 12 and 20-week scans with their partners at Walsall Manor Hospital from Monday 19 April 2021.
Partners will need to take a Lateral Flow Test before the appointment and upload the result to the national website.
They will also be welcomed at face to face outpatient consultations and pre-booked appointments at the Fetal Assessment Unit – as long as they have a negative test result. The used tests should not be brought into hospital.
Various restrictions have been in place since March 2020 as Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust worked to minimise infection risk during the Covid-19 pandemic and make maternity services as safe as possible during this time.
Now, in line with recommendations from NHS England, one identified partner can accompany mums-to-be for the appointments detailed above. Partners will still not able to be present for any other scans, blood tests or walk-in appointments.
Carla Jones-Charles, Divisional Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Sexual Health and Alan Deacon, Divisional Director of Clinical Support Services, said: “We know these past few months have been extremely difficult for mums-to-be but their safety has had to be our top priority and we couldn’t ignore the high incidence of Covid-19 infection in the local population.
“We are so pleased to be able to lift many restrictions from next Monday to ensure women have the support they need in pregnancy and birth and look forward to welcoming partners back to the hospital.
“Partners will need to have lateral flow tests and full details of how they can access these free tests, along with how to use them, are available on our Walsall Healthcare website and across Walsall Healthcare’s Facebook and Twitter. We will try to support those without internet access or a smartphone if they contact us ahead of the appointment.
“We are asking everyone who uses our services to continue to play their part in reducing infection risk by wearing a face covering, washing their hands or using the hand sanitiser provided and maintaining a two-metre distance. If anyone is experiencing Covid-19 symptoms which are a new, continuous cough, high temperature, or a change or loss in taste or smell they should not come into the hospital but contact their midwife or the maternity unit for advice.
”We thank everyone for their patience and understanding; this includes our staff who have remained committed to supporting women and families in the most trying of circumstances.”
They added that it is so important that women attend their antenatal appointments so vital checks can be made on baby as well as mums-to-be. If mums-to-be are worried about the following they are urged to contact maternity services without delay:
- Feeling unwell
- Reduced baby movements/Change in baby movements
They should call the delivery suite on 01922 656283 or maternity triage on 01922 656967. Both are available 24 hours a day. There is also a helpline specifically around Covid-19 available 9am-5pm Monday to Friday 01922 605426.
Our service users are reminded that:
- We are unable to provide appropriate social distancing with children present and therefore ask that they are not brought to appointment. If you are a supportive partner please don’t attend with children as we will be unable to let all of you in to accompany our mums-to-be and they have to remain alone in the scan room and antenatal appointments while you all wait outside the hospital.
- At present, partners are unable to attend maternity triage as we are unable to maintain social distancing and partners are asked to wait in their car or outside the main hospital.
- Women who attend in labour can have one designated birth partner (if the partner is asymptomatic).
- Women who are attending for induction of labour/ planned caesarean section can have a designated birth partner at all times.
- Women can have one birth partner on the antenatal/postnatal ward from 10am to 10pm. We ask all visitors to minimise their movement within the unit and all patients and partners are required to wear a face coving within the unit.