Five maternity units are STILL forcing mothers to have babies alone – despite falling Covid rates 


Five maternity units are STILL forcing mothers to have babies alone – despite falling Covid rates

  • Maternity units in England still banning pregnant women from support partner  
  • These include Walsall Manor Hospital and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford
  • MPs last night criticised those maternity units that have refused to budge

Five maternity units in England still ban pregnant women from having a partner for support, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

While the majority of NHS hospitals have changed their policies in a victory for this newspaper’s Lone Births campaign, a handful continue to ban partners from attending vital scans – despite falling Covid rates.

Last night, MPs criticised those maternity units that have refused to budge as acting in a way that is ‘verging on the criminal’. In April, NHS England issued new guidance calling for ‘urgent action’ from remaining trusts to start allowing partners to attend.

The maternity units that continue to ban partners from attending vital appointments are: Walsall Manor Hospital, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Tunbridge Wells Hospital and Medway Maritime Hospital, according to NHS England records disclosed to The Mail on Sunday.

The maternity units that continue to ban partners from attending vital appointments include Walsall Manor Hospital (pictured)

The guidance makes it clear that partners should be allowed to attend appointments at ‘all stages’ of pregnancy – including scans.

One woman, who has her 12-week scan this week at Medway, said the ‘anxiety is crippling’ her, knowing she has to face it alone. She said: ‘I have had two previous miscarriages, so this child is wanted hugely’.

A week ago she was admitted to hospital with a ‘severe bleed’ – yet the Kent hospital still won’t allow her partner into the scan.

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said: ‘It is an utter disgrace that some NHS trusts still believe they can justify forcing women to go through scans or miscarriages alone. It is verging on the criminal.

‘Our clinicians are vaccinated and a quarter of all UK adults have had both vaccines, so there is no excuse. Thankfully, the vast majority of NHS trusts have seen sense, and I’m so relieved our campaign has saved so many families from unnecessary trauma.’

Nadine Dorries, the Maternity Minister, praised The Mail on Sunday's campaign

Nadine Dorries, the Maternity Minister, praised The Mail on Sunday’s campaign

Nadine Dorries, the Maternity Minister, praised The Mail on Sunday’s campaign. 

She said: ‘We know partners, friends and relatives provide essential emotional and physical support for mothers right through pregnancy, and we have always said we wanted to ensure Covid-19 measures were not in place a second longer than necessary.

‘The Mail on Sunday’s campaign to end lone births has rightly highlighted this issue and the anguish it can cause women who have to go it alone.

‘NHS England published further guidance in April, giving more advice for trusts to make sure they can safely support visits.

‘We know that many trusts are taking these steps already, but we are working to make sure there is a consistent experience for families across the board.’

The guidance has made clear to hospitals that ‘everything should be done’ to allow partners to attend at all stages of pregnancy and birth since December.

Despite this, some only changed their policies recently. Surrey and Sussex maternity unit has only allowed partners to be present at all stages since April 12.

NHS England said: ‘Hospitals must ensure that women are safely accompanied at every stage of their maternity journey, including for scans, and the overwhelming majority of maternity units are doing this.’

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