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Protest over maternity restrictions to take place at St Luke’s Hospital for Carlow and Kilkenny

Senior government and health officials have already said such restrictions should now be lifted

The protest against maternity restrictions is set to move to our locality this morning.

Many have been socially distancing outside maternity units across the country in recent days calling for partners of those pregnant to be allowed to attend appointments and the early stages of labour.

Senior government and health officials have already said there’s no reason for such restrictions to still be in place at any of the facilities.

Krysia Lynch is the Chair of the Association for the Improvement of Maternity Services and she says St Luke’s General Hospital for Carlow and Kilkenny will see a socially distanced gathering from 11am this morning, telling KCLR News that people “Can expect mothers and their partners and expectant mothers to all be there to voice their distress, their anger and their disappointment that despite repeated calls from the Minister, from the Chief Medical Officer and from the HSE that restrictions around maternity care are not being lifted”.

She adds “Pregnancy, labour, birth, the arrival of the new baby or, in some circumstances, the very difficult news that the long-for and expected baby is not coming, they’re all life-transforming events and in these life transforming events we really need people that can support us and that we trust around us”.

National guidance is being adhered to by all Maternity Units in the Ireland East Hospital Group.   This includes advice provided by the local hospital Infection Prevention and Control Teams specific to the hospital.

Statement from Ireland East Hospital Group:

“With the exception of the National Maternity Hospital, the three Regional Maternity Units in IEHG are part of a general hospital campus and are therefore not standalone Maternity Hospitals.  As a consequence these hospitals have specific infrastructural challenges where social distancing cannot be sufficiently met within the COVID guidelines while facilitating partners to attend with the maternity patients. Restrictions are in place to ensure that the hospitals are protecting all patients who may be required to attend the hospital, this includes a large number of patients who have not yet been vaccinated, including our maternity patients and their partners.

The hospitals restrictive infrastructural challenges, particularly where wards are co-located with other patients and areas where spaces are not sufficient and contrary to Infection Prevention and Control guidance, we cannot further ease partner restrictions at this time.  However, work is ongoing to ensure that as much access as possible can be facilitated  in the coming weeks as more people from vulnerable groups are vaccinated.  These changes will be led by  Infection Prevention Control advice.

St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow/Kilkenny have worked on a solution which will facilitate partners into the 20 week scan by May 31st.  Partners can also attend active labour and theatre for scheduled Caesarean Sections.

Ireland East Hospital Group and St Luke’s General Hospital are continuously working to see how restrictions can be further eased for all maternity patients and their partners, as soon as possible.”

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