Allow birth partners their right to visit postnatal wards and be present during inductions

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Currently, birth partners are being stripped of their right to be present during labour inductions, and are immediately asked to leave after the birth of their newborn. They cannot visit their partner or their newborn until they are discharged - which could take up to a week under certain circumstances. Additionally to this, if a newborn is admitted to NICU, only one parent is able to visit. That means if you have a gravely ill child, one parent will not be able to see their newborn. 

This removes any time for bonding for new parents, and takes away the emotional and physical support for new mothers in those very early days. Lonely? Yes. Daunting? Absolutely. Unnecessary? Completely. 

We're calling on Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to immediately review this completely unnecessary ruling, to stop adding worry and anxiety to expectant mothers and partners, and to reinstate parents' rights to bonding with their newborn.

On the 5th June, the government lifted their visiting ban for hospitals around the country, unfortunately leaving it to local trusts to create visitation rights. STH have not responded to several requests for a review into their visitation policies, despite hundreds of desperate parents-to-be begging for this time with their new baby. The potential mental health implications from this are huge for both new mothers and new fathers, where this time cannot be replaced.

NICE guidelines set out that birth partners SHOULD be allowed time to bond with their child during this precious time, and that each birthing mother has the right to a birthing partner through labour - this doesn't discriminate between 'early' or 'established' labour. This is because of the incredibly positive effect this has on both women, their birth outcome and the well-being of the child.

If the general public can go to work, go shopping at Primark and visit a Zoo, new parents shouldn't be split up for the sake of it. If midwives are happy to enter the homes of birthing mothers for a home birth, then surely the risk to them is much higher than if the birth partner attends a sterile hospital in PPE. If both the labouring woman and her birth partner are from the same household, the potential risk of infection is the same for both the woman and her partner, therefore making it no more risky that the partner attends. If Coronavirus tests are readily available, as per the government's recent announcements, why are the hospitals not testing labouring women and their birth partners and allowing them access if both test negative?

What could possibly be more important than being present for the entire labour, birth and first few hours of your child's life? Especially when any risk of exposure to the virus can be managed effectively through PPE?

So once again, we're calling on STH to immediately review this completely unnecessary ruling, to stop adding worry and anxiety to expectant mothers and partners, and to reinstate parents' rights to bonding with their newborn.