Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on the government to intervene to ensure that the easing of maternity restrictions is being put into practice across all hospitals in the state.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“A lot of the discussion at the minute is about the easing of restrictions, the reopening of indoor dining, attendance at sports matches and international travel. And rightly so – it has been an incredibly difficult year and reopening will provide a boost for many.
“However, one group who feel incredibly let down are pregnant women and their partners. The stress and isolation they are facing is not being given the attention it deserves from the government. They have been forgotten.
“For the guts of a year now, I have repeatedly raised this with the Minister for Health, asking that he intervene to allow pregnant women to be supported by their partners at appointments and scans, for the full duration of labour, and at every opportunity where it can be safe to do so.
“The Minister then announced an easing of restrictions, which of course was very welcome. However, I know from speaking with pregnant women and their partners, that this loosening of restrictions is not being put in place on the ground across all hospitals.
“Partners are still being denied access to scans and appointments. Many families are having to pay for private scans so that partners can get a glimpse of their baby before the birth.
“In the last week, I spoke to a family who received the worst possible news about their pregnancy. In spite of the apparent easing of restrictions, the pregnant woman was left to face this news alone while her partner waited outside in the car.
“Without action from the Minister to ensure that partner access is being guaranteed across all hospitals, women will continue to be badly let down.
“The vast majority of staff, pregnant women and their partners are now vaccinated.
“It seems bizarre that a pregnant woman and their partner could sit in a restaurant together, or get on a plane for a holiday abroad, but a partner still cannot support their pregnant wife or girlfriend through childbirth, until she is dilated by an arbitrary amount that differs between hospitals.
“I have again written to the Minister, urging that he intervene to ensure that partners are being allowed access across all hospitals.
“The government cannot continue to leave pregnant women behind.”