Several councillors have signed an open letter to Minister Stephen Donnelly and HSE CEO Paul Reid. While welcoming the new guideline announced recently, they are concerned that it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Cllr Alan Edge (Ind) said that all stages of the maternity journey need to be included, including induction and post-natal visits. ‘We’ve heard stories of women without any support after birth because their baby happened to be born outside visiting hours. That’s a wholly unacceptable situation. It’s hard to imagine the extent of the anxiety that this could cause, not least in the era of covid. We are asking the Minister to go further and to ensure that women’s healthcare is always the top priority.’ He added, ‘It’s particularly important to highlight this issue now as the battle to wrestle control over the National Maternity Hospital away from the Church continues’.
The letter contained the below;
We are writing to you on behalf of our constituents in South Dublin in relation to the continuing partial ban on birthing partners in maternity hospitals. We welcome very much the new guideline announced by Minister Donnelly which is a big step in the right direction. We request that the lifting in the ban goes further, to include induction and all stages of labour as well as post-natal visits to ensure that a nominated birthing partner is able to attend no matter what time the baby is born, to prevent the trauma and anxiety of being left alone after birth because the baby was born outside of visiting hours.
We support the idea put forward by Holly Cairns TD that birthing partners should not be seen as visitors but should be reclassified as an “essential accompanying person” for the entire maternity journey. Recently, the guidance has been revised to remove induction from the list of circumstances in which a birthing partner may be permitted to accompany, ostensibly on the grounds of patient privacy and not disease control, which is in itself concerning to many women as there is a sense that this may become a permanent state of affairs. Some clarity on this point would be very welcome.
Giving birth in the era of covid is doubtless an unusually stressful time. We urge you to go further in your efforts to alleviate that stress to the fullest extent possible.
Cllr Alan Edge Cllr Carly Bailey Cllr William CareyCllr Mick DuffEmma Hendrick (Dublin South-West Together For Yes)Cllr Madeleine JohanssonCllr Peter Kavanagh Cllr Pamela Kearns Cllr Charlie O’ConnorCllr Francis Timmons