The Rotunda responds to criticism on new season of RTÉ series shot during Covid 2 weeks ago

The Rotunda responds to criticism on new season of RTÉ series shot during Covid

The decision to allow the series to go ahead has been questioned.

The Rotunda Hospital has responded to criticism surrounding the new season of RTÉ's The Rotunda, which was shot during Covid.

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The maternity hospital has been criticised by campaigners for permitting the series to shoot in the midst of incredibly strict restrictions imposed on partners during the pandemic.

Over the past 18 months, countless partners have been forced to sit outside hospitals while their partners labour alone. Many women have also reported receiving difficult news alone and experiencing birth trauma without the support of their partners due to the severity of the measures imposed by Ireland's maternity wards.

The Rotunda today responded t0 criticism surrounding the latest series of The Rotunda, a fly-on-the-wall type programme which follows women and their families as they welcome their children in the hospital.

"A note on the series," they began. "Management at the Rotunda Hospital decided to proceed with allowing the filming of The Rotunda TV series this year as it is an important platform that allows patients and their families to share their pregnancy and birth stories with dignity and respect, both joyous and heartbreaking.

"During this difficult time, we respect the sensitivities but believe that it is important to hear these stories and understand how maternity services operated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Filming took place with minimal numbers of crew on site and strict infection prevention and control protocols were adhered to at all times."

Maternity campaigners met with government officials last week to discuss a roadmap concerning the lifting of Covid restrictions in Ireland's maternity hospitals.

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Ahead of the meeting Linda Kelly of Women Ascend said "the draft we were provided with does not in any meaningful or credible way address our concerns or create a roadmap for maternity."

Actress Amy De Bhrún, who has been vocal about her experience of labour and the campaign for better maternity care, told us earlier this month that there had been a "disconnect" between hospitals and the rest of the country.

"People were flying out on holidays, GAA matches were being organised, I was in the cinema with my husband and I was like 'sorry, we can sit in the cinema together but you can't be there for the birth of our child?' which is what the restrictions still were for a lot of places at the time," she said.

"The experience of giving birth can be very overwhelming, you can feel very powerless. Partners are often seen as visitors and they're so not. They're so central. Labour is an entire process and hospitals are already understaffed. A partner needs to be there the entire time to advocate for you, to help you."