It’s been nearly two months since partners were stopped from attending antenatal scans – and that rule will remain in force ‘until further notice’.
The Health Minister says while he understands how important the support is for pregnant women, that needs to be balanced against the need to keep women and hospital staff safe from coronavirus.
Expectant mums have had to go to scans alone since Monday 14 December, which the government said was to keep patients and staff safe amid the surge in coronavirus cases at the time.
A petition was then launched to reverse the decision, with Deputy Louise Doublet raising concerns at the impact it will have on the mental health of pregnant women.
According to NHS experts - Support partners are an "integral part of both the woman and baby's care". Partners MUST be allowed to attend all scans and antenatal appointments. @GovJersey is this putting children first? #butnotmaternity @Butnotmaternity https://t.co/3fzAwcyHqn pic.twitter.com/Ss4QFo4Wsm— Louise Doublet (@LouDoublet) December 17, 2020
Deputy Richard Renouf says the outdated hospital creates an issue – with a small waiting area meaning that women and partners would have to wait outside or in car parks to reduce flow.
Before a decision to stop antenatal scans was taken - a risk assessment of maternity services was carried out with the context of having more than 800 active coronavirus scans, poorly ventilated scanning rooms, not being able to operate a one-way system, and only have one full time sonographer.
"A further review has been undertaken during January 2021 as part of HCS’s commitment to ensure the safe and effective processes are in place to support women and staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. This included a review of the same aspects as above, including the current context of COVID activity in the community, where the risk of transmission in our current environment remains high.
"We only have one hospital and one maternity service on-island. If individuals were to breach isolation following the PCR test [the test being a condition of partners attending], there would be a risk of bringing COVID into the unit and into the hospital.
"The decision remains that partners are not able to attend antenatal scans until further notice. The position will be regularly reviewed."
A partner can still attend the birth if they test negative for coronavirus.