Partners will be able to visit pregnant women and mothers and their newborn babies in hospital for up to four hours from today.
Hull Women and Children’s Hospital is introducing four-hour visiting slots in the morning and four-hour visiting slots in the afternoon from Monday, July 26.
Four-hour visiting slots are replacing one-hour slots following intensive work by Hull University Teaching Hospitals (HUTH) NHS Trust’s maternity team to keep all women and newborn babies as safe as possible throughout the pandemic.
Lorraine Cooper, Head of Midwifery, said: “Partners will be able to join their families for either four hours in the morning or four in the afternoon from today.
“Our priority remains the safety, not just of the women and babies in our care but of our staff working on the wards. Now more and more people have received vaccinations, it is safer for us to make some changes.
“But, even now, despite the easing of some national restrictions, we are still having to keep visitor numbers as low as possible to reduce the risk of this deadly disease spreading to women and their babies.”
In the past month, the trust has seen increasing numbers of pregnant women with the virus. They are cared for in a special, isolated areas of the hospital, with highly skilled maternity staff in full PPE tailoring care and support to their individual needs.
From today, women admitted as hospital inpatients to antenatal and post-natal wards will be able to book either the slot from 9am to 1pm or from 3pm to 7pm with the midwife looking after their care in the same way as the one-hour slots were booked. Only one slot can be booked for each day to prevent too many visitors being on either the antenatal ward or postnatal ward at one time.
Partners will be required to wear face masks and observe social distancing at all times to protect not just the person they are visiting but all staff and women on the wards.
As before, one birth partner can stay with women in labour on either the hospital’s labour ward or the Fatima Allam Birth Centre. Partners can attend outpatient appointments including scans following the creation of safety “pods” and changing the layout of facilities at the hospital to accommodate social distancing.
Lorraine Cooper said: “We are sorry restrictions have caused upset for women and their families. We have kept our visiting policy under constant review so we can make changes as soon as it is safe to do so.
“We thank people for understanding our reasoning and desire to keep not just them but us safe too so we stay well ourselves and are able to care for the next people coming into hospital who need us.
“Our new arrangements for visiting will be kept under review along with community infection rates and we will do whatever it takes to protect our wonderful staff and the women they look after over the coming months.”