Maternity restrictions still in place, despite promise to end them 4 months ago

Maternity restrictions still in place, despite promise to end them

Pregnant women in Ireland and their families have had enough.

Despite public statements by the Minister for Health a month ago that all restrictions on maternity visitation and accompaniment should be lifted, a recent policy revision by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been called out by campaigners as an underhanded attempt by the HSE and the Minister to backtrack on what was publicly promised.

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Campaigner Linda Kelly, who gave birth under Covid restrictions, said:

"The Minister made a clear statement weeks ago that the restrictions on partners attending for labour, and throughout the pregnancy journey should be lifted. Yet recent policy revisions by the HPSC show that these barbaric restrictions are being maintained across the 19 maternity units/ hospitals.

Not only does the Minister think these restrictions should be lifted, so too does the Chief Medical Officer, the CEO and CCO of the HSE and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin – so why the delay in implementing the required change?"

Kelly is far from the only one frustrating that the restrictions are still in place in some hospitals, as many expectant mothers and their families have tweeted Donnelly asking for change, calling current rules "damaging."

Campaigner Caroline Cumming, who had a baby recently, said:

"We have been campaigning for the past ten months seeking an end to these restrictions as they are causing significant damage to the perinatal health of mothers. With community transmission stable, all healthcare staff vaccinated, wider society reopening and the vaccine rollout moving forward, you have to question what purpose this policy serves?"

Also speaking on the current Maternity Hospital restrictions Uplift Director Siobhan O’Donoghue said:

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"Living through this Covid-19 pandemic has been rough for everyone - but for pregnant women, people and their partners it's been an absolute nightmare. From being told bad news alone, going through labour without support, cancelled antenatal classes - there's so many ways that pregnant people have been let down.

610 members donated to publish a full page Open Letter to Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar, Eamon Ryan, Stephen Donnelly, Dr Tony Holohan, Dr Ronan Glynn, Dr Peter McKenna and Paul Reid calling for a minimum standard of care for all pregnant women and people. Too many questions are still unanswered and trust in maternity care is at its lowest point in many years."