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'Birth partners in Derry must be treated the same as other Trusts'

DUP MLA Gary Middleton says partners are allowed to attend a range of appointments in other areas but in the Western Trust it is for 20-week scans only

'Birth partners in Derry must be treated the same as other Trusts'

DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton has called on the Health Minister to urgently address concerns that relaxations on partners attending pregnancy scans during Covid-19 have not been implemented fairly between Health and Social Care Trusts.

Mr Middleton said: ‘‘The restrictions placed on pregnant women and their partners at the height of the first wave of Covid-19 demonstrated the serious threat posed by the virus and the disruption it caused to even the most cherished aspects of life in Northern Ireland.

"The guidance that took effect on 6 July was therefore extremely welcome, once again placing the onus on Trusts to facilitate birth partners seeking to accompany women to a range of maternity appointments. This included, but was not restricted to, dating and anomaly scans, induction of labour, the duration of labour, for birth, and visits to antenatal and postnatal wards. 

"I am becoming increasingly concerned that these rights have not been restored in a consistent or fair fashion. Whilst some Trusts appear to have honoured the guidance in full, the Western Trust have been limiting relaxations to 20-week scans only. This has led to a perception of a double standard.

"It is wrong that some birth partners are granted greater access than others simply because of where they live. Every pregnancy and every partner should be treated equitably and fairly.

"I would urgently call on the Health Minister to take steps to rectify these concerns and issue clearer guidance.’’

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