01/06/2021 | Press releases

Please take a quick test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) before coming to our maternity units or scanning departments

Rapid testing stations for Coronavirus (COVID-19) are closing in maternity units and scanning departments run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT).

This is in line with the Government recently announcing that anyone in England can now get free testing kits online and in the community to check for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, if you are not able to test at home for any reason, voluntary rapid Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests will still be available at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals and the Coastal Birthing Unit at Clacton Hospital for the following appointments:

  • 12 week ultrasound scans
  • 20 week ultrasound scans
  • Fetal medicine appointments
  • Visits to the neonatal unit

As with our guidance to all visitors, ESNEFT strongly recommends that pregnant people and their support person test themselves at home twice a week (every three to four days), or at least within the 24 hours before they come to hospital to attend an appointment. If you test positive you must stay at home.

The tests can be accessed easily and for free online and at local testing sites or pharmacies. It means we can all help to stop the spread of the virus by regularly testing at home or at a local testing site.

Giles Thorpe is Chief Nurse for ESNEFT, which runs Colchester and Ipswich hospitals and the Coastal Birthing Unit at Clacton Hospital.

He said: “We are asking all expectant parents for their help by continuing to test at home to keep them, their families and our staff as safe as possible.

“You should do a rapid test twice a week (every three to four days) to check if you have the virus. If you or your support person test positive and self-isolate, it helps to stop the virus spreading and protects everyone in our hospitals.

“If anyone has any questions or concerns they would like to discuss about their pregnancy or coming to hospital, I would encourage them to call their midwife. Our teams are here to help.”

The NHS explains how you can get rapid testing kits here

The very simple tests only take a few minutes to carry out and you can get a result in just 30 minutes.

All expectant parents due in for scan appointments will be personally contacted by a member of the team to let them know about these changes.

Testing arrangements for attending our hospitals for labour remain in place. Our midwives will discuss the testing process and arrangements for attending labour with pregnant people and their support person before their baby is born.

Click here to read more details, including what happens if you or your support person test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

When attending appointments and labour, we continue to respectfully ask pregnant people (where appropriate) and support people to:

  • Maintain a 2 metre distance from staff
  • Wear a surgical face mask covering their nose and mouth at all times – support people will be asked to leave the hospital building if they refuse to do so

All staff will wear the correct level of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.

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