Important changes announced to Bedfordshire Hospitals’ maternity services

Date: 29/11/2021 | Category: General News

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust can confirm from the 29 November 2021, visiting restrictions in maternity services will be relaxed further. One partner will now be allowed to visit for four hours on our postnatal wards.

We know this additional relaxing of restrictions will be welcome news to women/birthing people and their support partners as they will now have more time together to have that much needed support. This change is applicable to both Bedford Hospital and the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.

We kindly remind all visiting partners to our postnatal wards:

  • Only one partner allowed to visit which needs to be pre-booked with the ward
  • Take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before attending the hospital to visit, and show proof of a negative result before you enter the ward. You will be refused entry on the wards if unable to show evidence of a negative LFT result.
  • Wear a surgical face mask at all times whilst in the hospital.

This is also a good opportunity to remind everyone of the previous ease of restrictions in our maternity services which still stands.

One support partner can currently:

  • Accompany pregnant women/people at all scans and antenatal appointments
  • Stay with a pregnant woman/person during all times whilst on the Delivery Suite not just in established labour
  • One support partner can accompany pregnant women/people in theatre for all planned and emergency C-Sections.

The Trust also continues to encourage all pregnant women/people and their support partners to take a LFT ahead of attending their antenatal / scan appointments and to take the test no more than 72hrs before their appointment date.

These test results will not only help the Trust to manage any asymptomatic (people with no coronavirus symptoms) COVID positive patients in a controlled way but will also reduce the risk of the virus spreading in our hospitals.

When there are higher incidences of COVID cases locally we have to be extremely careful about lifting visiting restrictions. As such, it’s important to note that this further relaxing of restrictions could change at short notice if it becomes unsafe to continue. We still do need to limit the footfall on both hospital sites to not only protect patients but to also protect our staff, keep them well so they can continue to provide safe and essential quality patient care.

FAQs for added clarification

 Does the four hours visiting have to be used altogether or can they be split up into intervals throughout the day?

Yes, the four hours needs to be taken in one block. However if there are exceptional circumstances where this isn’t possible, please speak to the midwifery manager on-call to discuss alternative arrangements.

 

Do you still have to pre-book your visiting with the ward before arriving?

Yes. This will help us manage and monitor the number of visitors on the ward.

 

What happens if I’m unable to produce evidence of a negative LFT?

You will need to show evidence of your negative LFT in order to visit. If you’re struggling to record your result online and show the response email or text confirming your negative result then please speak to the midwifery manager on-call prior to attending the hospital.

 

Does the partner have to take a LFT before each visit or is it one LFT every 72hrs?

One LFT every 72hrs is required.

 

Is this for the same partner or can a different visiting partner attend the next day?

In order to help with the spread of infection within hospital, we do ask for the same partner to attend on each visit.

 

If the partner tests positive for COVID can an alternative visitor attend in their place?

Yes they can, providing they can evidence a negative LFT.

 

What happens if the mother/birth person is COVID positive, would their partner still be able to visit the postnatal ward if they are negative?

In order to help us effectively manage the care to all COVID positive inpatients and prevent further exposure, unfortunately this is not allowed. However we do appreciate there may be exceptional circumstances on some occasions so please do discuss with the midwifery manager on-call.

 

I have concerns about my pregnancy, where can I find out more information?

If you have any concerns about your pregnancy, please contact your named Midwife or call to speak to a member of the maternity team at Bedford Hospital on 01234 795805 or 01582 502285 for the L&D Hospital.

 

You can find more information on pregnancy and coronavirus on the NHS website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/pregnancy-and-coronavirus/

 

Where does my support partner wait when coming with me to my appointment?  

Women should attend and book in for their antenatal / scan appointment at their appointment time on their own. Your support partner should wait outside of the maternity entrance and will be telephoned by their partner and advised of the scan room number once the patient has been called in for their scan. Once the scan is completed the partner will leave the scan department and the patient will wait for their report and notes.