28 April 2021
By Elaine Murphy
Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has today urged the Minister for Health to outline minimum standards for partner access across all maternity services in the State.
The Cork South Central TD said:
“The restrictions imposed to tackle Covid-19 have been very difficult for all, but few have been affected as much as new parents and families expecting a baby.
“New mothers have had to endure isolation pre, during and post-birth of their new baby.
“The difference in approach taken by varying maternity hospitals has caused a lot of confusion for parents expecting a child. Many families I have spoken with have relayed their frustration at the easing of restrictions in Dublin for example, compared to a more restrictive approach taken in Cork.
“A reply I received today from the Minister for Health to my queries on this issue said that guidance had been issued to hospitals on access for partners of maternity patients. It is clear however, that guidance on its own is not enough, without also laying out a clear minimum level of visitation hours that all maternity hospitals must ensure.
“A recent, very welcome announcement has included pregnant women in the priority category for vaccination. Surely, this makes it safer to ensure that women can be supported in their pregnancy, in labour and in childbirth. We must progress this quickly.
“The WHO have produced research, stating the huge benefits of having a companion of choice during childbirth, including during the Covid-19 pandemic. They believe that every woman has a right to this companionship.
“This isn’t a luxury or an extra – the presence of partners is clinically beneficial.
“The Minister for Health needs to urgently intervene and set out the minimum standards for all hospitals, ensuring that all pregnant women are properly supported, as is their right. “