'Any restrictions easing means the journey will be a little easier': Activists welcome changes to maternity visit rules

'Any restrictions easing means the journey will be a little easier': Activists welcome changes to maternity visit rules

Cork-based campaigner Linda Kelly said the HSE has now invited them to meet with them to discuss the roadmap for maternity. Picture Denis Minihane.

CHANGES to restrictions for maternity services have been welcomed by Cork campaigners as they remain hopeful for a national roadmap for maternity by the end of the month.

According to updated guidelines, which came into effect at Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) yesterday, partners are allowed to attend the ward with the mother post-delivery for one hour.

In addition, for inpatient visiting, there will be unrestricted visiting from 3pm to 8pm every day for the nominated partner or visitor.

The new measures come alongside other guidelines currently in place at the hospital such as allowing partners to attend early pregnancy scans and when the patient is in established labour.

A spokesperson for CUMH confirmed that the hospital is “fully compliant with HSE guidelines”.

It comes days after calls from the #BetterMaternityCare campaign for a detailed roadmap for maternity services by the end of this month. Cork-based campaigner Linda Kelly said the HSE has now invited them to meet with them to discuss the roadmap for maternity.

“We’re happy that there is a positive and constructive invitation there and we’ve accepted,” she said.

Ms Kelly welcomed the progress at CUMH — but said there are still issues “right across the country” that need to be addressed.

“It’s positive but there is still the separation of families during early stages of labour and inductions is still a problem.

“The lack of partner access during emergency presentations is still a problem.”

Ms Kelly said that they hope such elements are addressed in the roadmap, adding that it is “make or break” time for the Government on the issue.

“They have to show a clear willingness to make this issue a priority after 18 months. If they publish a roadmap that doesn’t address maternity services, it has no credibility.”

Fellow campaigner Caroline Cumming also welcomed the changes.

“Any easing anywhere is really good news because it just means some women who are in a situation, their journey will be a little easier now that they have that support, so I am always in favour of any easing,” she said.

She said it is “vital” that the roadmap comes at the end of the month.

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