Covid rules in maternity wards at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals easing

Ipswich Hospital Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

New rules to be put in place over visitors at maternity wards at Ipswich and Colchester hospital - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN/GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO/ARCHANT

The rules regarding visitors to maternity wards at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are easing. 

The easing measures come into effect as of Wednesday, September 29, with changes across maternity services at both hospitals.

From tomorrow, two birthing partners will be able to accompany someone in labour from the point of their admission to the maternity units.

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.

Those supporting a pregnant patient may be asked to wait outside if waiting areas are busy until the time of the appointment to maintain social distancing.

One named birthing partner will be able to visit antenatal and postnatal wards from 9am to 9pm. 

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse at ESNEFT, said the changes were a "very positive step forward". 

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“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.

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

As well as this one support person, which will ideally be from the same household, may attend all appointments in maternity triage at Colchester Hospital and the day assessment unit at Ipswich Hospital. 

People accompanying those to their appointments may be asked to wait outside until the time of the appointment so that social distancing can be maintained. 

One support person, again 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.

All birthing partners and support people attending the hospital must not be positive with Covid-19, and they must be able to wear a facemask. 

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.”

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