'Postcode lottery' for pregnant women: Different restrictions across the country

'Postcode lottery' for pregnant women: Different restrictions across the country

There are different restrictions applied across the country governing the rules allowing partners into maternity hospitals.

Pregnant women and their partners are now entering a "postcode lottery" with different restrictions applied across the country, the Dáil has heard.

The Taoiseach has promised the rules preventing partners into maternity hospitals will now be looked at.

Micheál Martin told the Dáil that restrictions on maternity hospitals have been "very difficult" for people, adding "it's very traumatic".

Responding to questions on the issue, Mr Martin said he fully empathises with the stress expectant parents are now under but said public health advice has been "the key influencer of this situation, along with then risk management in specific hospitals and locations".

"I do take the point that public health advice in these areas should be nationwide, but it may be in different hospitals you have different settings and you have different risks. 

"I will engage with the chief medical officer on this and with the health service on this. It's very difficult for people it's very traumatic," Mr Martin said.

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns said that at present women in some areas are going through labour alone.

"It's a geographical lottery and we've no idea why. We can't allow anyone else to go through this unless it's absolutely necessary.

"Taoiseach we urgently need a nationwide review of restrictions in maternity hospitals, and the decision making process needs to be transparent," she said.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said there is no reference to maternity services in the Government's medium-term Covid plan published this week.

He said going into hospital for scans should be a "joyous occasion" for parents but instead partners have been prevented from attending these appointments.

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