CHANGES to visiting the maternity unit at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley come into effect today (Thursday September 10).

The changes follow risk assessments of the maternity unit and new guidance from NHS England.

One birth partner may now attend the triage department but birth partners may be asked to wait outside the unit until the midwife or doctor is ready to see them if the waiting room becomes busy or crowded. This is to allow social distancing in the unit for women.

Birth partners may now attend while women are being induced between the hours of 9am and 10pm.

For women having elective caesarean sections, birth partners can now be present from when the woman arrives at hospital, right up until she is taken to the postnatal ward area after she had had her baby. They can then visit on the ward as per ward visiting times. This varies depending on which bed the woman is in and the midwife will provide this information.

There is no change during labour, with one birthing partner able to attend.

All visitors to maternity will be asked to have their temperature taken on admission; contact details are recorded and visitors requested to wear a mask for the duration of their visit. Birth partners should remain within their rooms and avoid leaving the department unless they are returning home. They are asked to maintain good hand hygiene whilst visiting and use hand gel dispensers frequently.

Birth partners should not attend the unit if they have symptoms of Covid-19, or have received a positive test result within 10 days of attendance at the maternity unit.

Anyone that has been advised to self-isolate following contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case must also not attend the unit.

A spokesperson for The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust said capacity in the scan department and antenatal clinic was being reviewed and an update would be provided in the coming days as to whether partners can attend these appointments.