NHS Lanarkshire’s maternity services have announced changes to visiting arrangements.

Birthing partner access at University Hospital Wishaw will be different from today (Tuesday, January 26).

The move comes following an increase in community prevalence of Covid-19, along with an increase in hospital admissions and rising rate in the maternity population.

Cheryl Clark, chief midwife for NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We have made a very difficult decision to minimise partner attendance.

“This is due to the number of people coming through our clinics in our hospitals, ultrasound department and communal areas. Also, unfortunately, due to the variable approach to adhering to facial covering and hand hygiene measures.

“For these reasons, effective immediately, partners can only attend the booking scan and scan at 20 weeks’ gestation.

“In terms of our inpatient services – including our labour ward, triage, antenatal and postnatal wards – we have had to alter the time of essential visiting for birthing partners. Each birthing partner will be allocated a three-hour slot of visiting in both the antenatal and postnatal ward.”

For women who need to attend triage, the midwife will give advice on bringing a birthing partner. There will be some instances where you will be asked you not to bring your partner with you, and in other cases the birthing partner will be encouraged to attend.

The maternity team will continue to provide care and support tailored to each woman’s needs.

Ms Clark added: “There will be no restriction to birthing partners being present when the woman is in labour. Birthing partners are encouraged to attend for the duration of the labour and for two hours post-birth or until the woman has been transferred to the postnatal ward.

“The team in postnatal will allocate a three-hour slot for visiting. We recognise that every person has individual needs and may need an altered plan. All women can discuss their own circumstances with their community midwife or the senior charge midwife in the hospital.”

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All Lanarkshire residents, including the maternity population, are being reminded of the help and support they can provide to healthcare staff by following F.A.C.T.S

Ms Clark reminded: “Please continue to follow F.A.C.T.S. When attending antenatal appointments, or if the team visit you in your home, please wear a facial covering where possible. Avoid crowded places and follow the guidelines for the current restrictions. Clean your hands regularly.

“If the community midwife or a member of the maternity team visit your home, please clean surfaces before and after their visit.

“Follow the two-metre social distance rule and please phone your midwife if you develop symptoms of Covid and book a test. While you are isolating, you must stay at home and rearrange your care. We will rearrange all your care at a time that is safe to do so.”

These arrangements will be reviewed in four weeks and any alterations will be made as soon as it is safe to do so.