Further easing of partner restrictions at University Maternity Hospital Limerick

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The restrictions at UMHL are being eased further from today

A FURTHER step in the gradual easing of partner restrictions at University Maternity Hospital Limerick has come into effect with partners now permitted to accompany women for their 12-week scan.

The change follows new guidance, issued by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre on August 5, in respect of the 12-week scan and c-section. University Maternity Hospital Limerick already facilitates partner access for elective and emergency sections.

Confirming the change, a spokesperson for UL Hospitals said: "We acknowledge that the continuing Covid-19 partner access restrictions are difficult for service users and their loved ones and we continue to review these safety measures at UMHL on a weekly basis. We continue to plan for the safe, controlled and phased relaxation of restrictions, and to ensure all processes are safely introduced and managed."

"We are reorganising our service to ensure compliance with the new guidance around the 12-week scan and this will allow partners to attend for this scan from this (Friday) afternoon," the added.

The change will see women being offered a separate ultrasound appointment which would previously have taken place on the same day as their antenatal appointment. Women who are booked in to the ante-natal clinic over the next three weeks are being contacted by the hospital to offer an alternative date for the 12-week scan which will allow their partner or one accompanying person to be present for the scan.

UMHL says partners are allowed in specified areas at the hospital, regardless of vaccination status, once they complete the Covid-19 questionnaire and are temperature screened.

These include the Labour ward (throughout labour and delivery), Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit, Antenatal ward (45 minute slots), Postnatal ward (45 minute slots) and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (30 minutes slots).

"In adopting the updated national guidance, we seek to balance the competing requirements for partners to be present and supporting women, while giving priority to the safety, welfare and privacy of all women and infants in our care, and our staff," said the spokesperson.

In taking decisions to implement or relax restrictions, UMHL says it has regard to three primary factors: the rate of Covid transmission within the local community, the number of staff in the hospital and the possibility of those staff becoming unwell, and the infrastructure of the hospital site.

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