TD calls for easing of maternity restrictions after hearing 'heartbreaking' stories

Td Calls For Easing Of Maternity Restrictions After Hearing 'Heartbreaking' Stories Td Calls For Easing Of Maternity Restrictions After Hearing 'Heartbreaking' Stories
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James Cox
A TD has called for restrictions to be eased in maternity wards after hearing "heartbreaking stories" from women who have been separated from their partners before and after birth.

Social Democrats TD for Cork South-West Holly Cairns said that a review of the current restrictions, that have been in place for six months, is long overdue.

Partners are currently only allowed to enter the wards once active labour begins.

Ms Cairns told "I want the restrictions to be revised immediately and to see if they can be eased, public health is the priority. It's just difficult to understand why other areas of society have been revised and revisited and this hasn't been properly. We need clarity and it has to be revised immediately, we can't ask anymore women to go through this if it's not necessary."

She said she has received calls and messages from pregnant women, women who have recently given birth and their partners about the difficulties they have faced under the current restrictions.


"When you think about how the restrictions have been revised and revisited in a lot of sectors in society over and over again, there isn't the same kind of organised lobby or group for women who are pregnant or have just had children compared to, for example, sports or pubs," she said. "They've just gone a bit unheard and when you think about it, there's a lot of people who have been affected by this."

Ms Cairns also questioned why some of the restrictions had been eased in Dublin, despite the high Covid-19 incidence in the capital recently.

Why are women being so poorly treated?

"Some of the restrictions have been eased in Dublin-based hospitals but they haven't in Cork. Perhaps there's good reasons for that but we don't have the information. You can see why people are upset, inconsistent practices in maternity hospitals really adds to the general confusion in the public. We need coherent policies supported by rationale and evidence so people can understand why. The stories that I'm hearing are heartbreaking, in Cork at the moment you have to go to all your prenatal scans on your own, so if there's bad news you have to ring your partner out in the car park."

Ms Cairns added: "One woman told me she was in labour for 21 hours, her partner was allowed in for two hours, you can only have someone in when you're in active labour. He had to leave immediately then and she was in hospital for another two days on her own. It's just horrific the stories I'm hearing."

"Why are women being so poorly treated? It doesn't make sense," she said.

Ms Cairns has put the issue of Covid-19 restrictions in maternity wards forward for topical questions in the Dáil, with today's sitting due to start at around 2pm.


After Ms Cairns raised the issue in the Dáil, it has been confirmed that a HSE review will take place in Cork and Kerry in the next few weeks with a new set of guidelines to be issued for hospitals in the counties.

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