Expectant mothers and their partners were among those who took part in a protest at St Luke’s Hospital campus at the continued ban on partners attending appointments.
The organisers of the protest, The Irish Birth Movement, are calling for partners to have unrestricted access so they can support the birthing person at all times.
"We are asking for restrictions in maternity hospitals to be lifted. We want the birth partners to stay with the birthing person through all of labour and birth. Partners are not visitors! They are essential to the well being of the war birthing person and the baby. We also call for restrictions to be lifted during antenatal appointments, scan appointments, on hearing sad news and on visiting their child/children in the NICU unit," a spokesperson said.
In a statement issued on behalf of the hospital, , the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) said that restrictions on maternity partners at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny cannot be eased due to restrictive infrastructural challenges.
The IEHG says that national guidance is being adhered to by all maternity units in the Ireland East Hospital Group, and this includes advice provided by the local hospital infection prevention and control teams specific to the hospital.
"With the exception of the National Maternity Hospital, the three Regional Maternity Units in IEHG are part of a general hospital campus and are therefore not standalone maternity hospitals," says the IEHG.
"As a consequence these hospitals have specific infrastructural challenges where social distancing cannot be sufficiently met within the Covid guidelines while facilitating partners to attend with the maternity patients. Restrictions are in place to ensure that the hospitals are protecting all patients who may be required to attend the hospital, this includes a large number of patients who have not yet been vaccinated, including our maternity patients and their partners.
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