28/09/2021 | Press releases

Relaxing Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in maternity services

Some Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in maternity services at hospitals run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) are being relaxed.

The changes will apply at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals and the Coastal Birthing Unit at Clacton Hospital.

From Wednesday 29 September 2021:

  • Two birthing partners may accompany someone in labour from the point of their admission to the maternity unit
  • One named birthing partner may visit antenatal and postnatal wards from 9am to 9pm
  • One support person (ideally from the same household) may attend all appointments in maternity triage at Colchester Hospital and the day assessment unit at Ipswich Hospital, but they may be asked to wait outside if our waiting areas are busy until the time of the appointment so that social distancing can be maintained.
  • One support person (ideally from the same household) may have 24-hour access to the antenatal ward with someone who is booked in for an induction of labour if they need support

Birthing partners and support people must not be positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) or have symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and they must be able to wear a face mask.

Existing arrangements for attending ultrasound scans, early pregnancy units, Caesarean sections, consultant antenatal clinics and ESNEFT community antenatal and postnatal midwife led clinics will not be changing.

More detailed information about maternity appointments and visits can be found on the ESNEFT website.

Giles Thorpe is Chief Nurse at ESNEFT. He said: “We would like to thank everyone for their patience during what we know has been an extremely difficult time for expectant parents and their families.

“We have made these changes as quickly and as safely as possible, in line with national guidance.

“Keeping everyone – pregnant people, their babies, families and our staff – safe is our top priority.

“We will therefore keep our new arrangements under regular review, including monitoring local Coronavirus (COVID-19) trends, but this is a very positive step forward.”

The Trust’s Director of Midwifery Roslyn Bullen-Bell added: “We are very happy to be making these changes and to be moving forward with opening up maternity services in a safe and controlled way.

“We are very mindful of how tough the past 18 months has been and we want to make sure birthing partners and support people are involved as much as possible.”

It is strongly recommended that pregnant people and their birthing partners / support person continue to take a quick test for Coronavirus (COVID-19) at home before coming to our hospitals. Read more here.

Restricted visiting policies in other areas of ESNEFT hospitals, which remain under regular review, are unchanged for now. Read more here.

Help stop the spread

ESNEFT is asking everyone to help stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) by:

  • Following national safety advice (see gov.uk)
  • Washing your hands regularly, especially before and after your visit
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Following social distancing guidance
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