When is this government going to treat women with the respect they deserve
The Minister for Health must immediately clarify why restrictions on partners at maternity hospitals are still in place, according to Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns.
“It is now more than five weeks since Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said there was no public health justification for restrictions on partners at maternity hospitals.
“Despite this, nothing has changed. If anything, the situation has gotten worse. On May 31, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) issued guidance which stated that partners of pregnant women should be “facilitated in accompanying a woman throughout the process of labour and childbirth”.
“However, on June 11, a further clarification was issued by the HPSC. In it, it stated partners should be “facilitated in accompanying a woman throughout the process of labour and childbirth during the time the woman is in the labour ward”. Before that, if a woman begins labour in a ward, “access may be limited”.
“Have the people writing this guidance ever given birth? If they had, perhaps they would be more cognisant of the fact that labour cannot be squeezed into neat little time slots.
“The presence of a partner, to support women during labour, is not some kind of perk. Or some additional extra. It is essential – for women’s mental and physical health. It is also hugely important for partners to be present for one of the most momentous occasions of their lives.
“Society is opening up. We can now eat and drink outside restaurants, get our hair done and visit gyms and swimming pools. Yet, women are still expected to endure labour alone.
“This has gone on long enough. The Minister is on the record having repeatedly stated these restrictions can no longer be justified. When are the management teams in maternity hospitals going to get this memo?
“The chaotic rollout of the vaccination programme for pregnant women, is further evidence of the contemptuous treatment of pregnant women during this pandemic.
“When is this government going to treat women with the respect they deserve and end these callous restrictions in our maternity hospitals?”
15 June, 2021