Dillon challenges maternity restrictions in hospitals

MAYO Fine Gael Deputy Alan Dillon has put down a Parliamentary Question to ask Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly about his plans to ensure partners can attend appointments and births with women that are expecting babies, to provide them with support at this very important time for couples.

He has also written to the CEO of the HSE, Paul Reid, asking him to immediately review visiting restrictions around maternity services.

Said Deputy Dillon: “I’ve been contacted by several pregnant women and those who had just given birth recently describing how the restrictions have prevented fathers and partners from spending more than two hours with their new-born babies.

“Many of these women have described how the Covid-19 HSE rules, which are insisting on extremely limited visiting access, even to 20-week scans, are placing a significant mental and emotional burden on them.”

He continued: “As a first-time father to a 10-month-old baby boy, it’s horrific to think that a pregnant mother could potentially be left to receive very difficult, heart-breaking news on her own under the current regime on visiting and appointment restrictions.

“I understand that the HSE is trying to be cautious, but we must introduce a bit of humanity in circumstances such as these.

“In Castlebar, Mayo University Hospital have always been very proactive around visiting restrictions and the ban of delivery of flowers. In 2012 MUH brought in the rule that expectant mothers were allow one birthing partner and no visitors were allowed inside the maternity unit for the duration of the mother’s stay. This gave the mother time for rest and limiting the risk of infection in the ward.

“The HSE needs to listen to pregnant women and their partners on this matter. I appreciate that some hospitals in the country are a lot busier that others, therefore a blanket ban on all hospitals isn’t fair and needs to be reviewed on a regional basis of number of Covid cases in the area.

“I would also put forward that maternity ward restrictions should be incorporated into the National Framework for Living with Covid.”