WEST CORK TD Holly Cairns has called for the immediate nationwide relaxation of visitor restrictions at maternity hospitals in order to allow partners to attend all stages of pregnancy and labour.
The Social Democrats TD made her comments following the launch of a new visitor scheduling app at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), which has allowed for an easing of visitor restrictions.
Last month, the hospital introduced the Yellow Schedule app to allow patients to nominate a visitor to attend their anatomy scan in a safe and controlled manner. It was designed to allow for rapid contact tracing if required.
CUMH has confirmed to The Echo that a soft launch of the new visitor app commenced earlier this week on one postnatal ward in the hospital. This saw partners of patients on the ward being able to visit for one hour.
A spokesperson for the hospital said the app will come into wider use in the coming weeks.
“The initiative at CUMH is to be welcomed and I am glad to see some movement on the restrictions on partners at a leading maternity hospital,” said Ms Cairns.
“However, this needs to be part of a national conversation and the Government and HSE must outline a plan that acknowledges both partners as being essential at all stages of the pregnancy journey and during the entire birth process.”
She said parents have been through very stressful situations over the past year.
“Since last year, parents have faced a geographical lottery, with restrictions varying from hospital to hospital throughout the country.
“The situation is continuing to cause great stress and hardship for expectant parents, particularly in cases where there are complications in the pregnancy or tragic outcomes.”
Ms Cairns called for clarity on the issue.
“It is vital that the Government finally brings clarity and certainty to these parents as it prepares to reopen parts of the economy and society in the weeks ahead,” she said.