This change has been made in order to extend access for families during this special time, whilst minimising the potential risk of spreading infection, protecting mother, baby and attending clinicians.
Testing will take place at the ward entrance, and partners will be asked to wait in their vehicle or in the foyer until results return. Known as the ‘Abbott Test’, this is a rapid screening process that consists of a nasal swab. It takes approximately 20 minutes for results to be returned and is completely painless.
If the test is negative access will be given to the ward for up to four hours during the induction process.
In the case of a positive test, access will be denied to the ward and individuals will have to isolate at home as per government guidance. Colleagues will endeavour to keep partners up-to-date about mother and baby.
Lois Mellor, Director of Midwifery at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “Throughout the challenges presented by Covid-19, the safety of our babies, mothers, partners and staff has been our top priority. Any potential changes to policy takes time to implement, with the necessary safeguarding assessments undertaken, as well as other considerations to ensure minimal risk not only to patients but also healthcare professionals.
“With all of this in place, as of Monday 8 February we are pleased to widen access further allowing partners to attend during the induction process following a rapid COVID-19 test and, most importantly, we are confident that we are able to do this safely.”
Partners have been able to support women in labour at the Trust throughout the pandemic. Once mums are in a single room within the Labour Ward, partners can stay throughout and for up to two hours once baby has been delivered, and the same every day after until discharge home.