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23 December 2020

Sheffield Hospitals will support partners to attend for first baby scan and other maternity restrictions will begin to be eased into the New Year

Following new national guidance this month, partners will shortly be able to attend the first pregnancy scan (the dating scan) and visit the ante-natal and post-natal wards for one hour per day at the Jessop Wing Hospital as restrictions begin to be eased.

Restrictions on the attendance of partners are being reduced in a stepped manner, in line with the new national maternity service guidance. We are pleased to be able to remove some restrictions from Christmas Eve, and ask that people bear with us while we work to further reduce restrictions over the coming weeks. The safety of women and babies in Jessops and the need to limit transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible is still the first priority and so there will be strict measures which we will be asking people to adhere to before they can accompany or visit. This includes social distancing, wearing PPE and having a COVID-19 test for some types of attendances.

• From Thursday December 24, a partner or nominated support person can visit the ante-natal and post-natal wards for one hour per day, in a nominated time slot. They will be provided with PPE to wear and will need to follow social distancing rules. Unfortunately children are not allowed to attend.

• From Monday December 28, partners will be able to attend the first pregnancy scan (the dating scan). Social distancing measures are in place, and partners will be escorted to the scan room and leave via a one way system. Masks must be worn throughout.

Partners are already able to attend during labour and for the birth of the child, including elective C-sections, and to stay for a short time afterwards.

Work is ongoing to enable us to reduce restrictions further over the coming days and weeks including enabling unlimited joint visiting for partners on the neo-natal unit and allowing partners to attend 20 week anomaly scans from January.

We are doing some final work to install testing areas and increase the space we are using to make it possible to have increased social distancing, and then we will be informing women and their partners of the new arrangements in more detail.

The reason restrictions have been in place for scan attendance and other appointments has been to protect patients and their babies. The level of COVID-19 cases in Sheffield has been very high during the pandemic and so we have tried to minimise the number of people coming into Jessops who could potentially transmit the virus unknowingly, given that many people do not display symptoms.

We also now have to consider the new variant of the virus, which we know is likely to be in our communities already and is up to 70% more transmissible, and for this reason we ask that all those attending strictly adhere to the arrangements we are putting in place.

Professor Chris Morley, Chief Nurse, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explained:

“Our teams have worked really hard to balance the safety of women and their babies with the understandable desire for partners to be as involved as possible with such a special event in their lives, and so we are pleased to be in a position where we can now take these steps to ease some of the restrictions we have had in place. We will need to continually monitor the position given the new rise in COVID-19 cases and ask partners to strictly adhere to any new guidance which is issued and undertake a COVID-19 tests when asked, wear PPE and socially distance at all times. By working together we can limit the potential transmission of this awful virus to women and babies in Jessops.”

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