New guidance for maternity hospitals to allow partners attend births

Partners will be allowed to visit for up to 30 minutes, it is understood.
New guidance for maternity hospitals to allow partners attend births

Health minister Stephen Donnelly. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

New guidance ensuring that birthing partners are allowed to attend births will be sent to maternity hospitals this week, the health minister has said.

Stephen Donnelly said his "heart breaks" for those forced to miss appointments or births. 

All hospitals will follow the same protocols while emergency plans for situations such as miscarriage were being examined. 

Partners will be allowed to visit for up to 30 minutes, it is understood. 

“The plan will be put in place this week, and then in the coming weeks it will be rolled out across the country," he told Newstalk's The Hard Shoulder

We’re only talking three or four weeks, the emergency visits will be facilitated."

He said that a list of criteria would be prepared for the country's 19 maternity units — three of which are not compliant with the guidance. The Seanad was told today that these units are in Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Wexford.

“There are 19 maternity units around the country, 16 were reporting as fully compliant, three of them said they weren’t and they gave an undertaking that by today, the criteria will be in place,” he said.

Separately, Mr Donnelly also said that he wants the governance of the new National Maternity Hospital to be "bulletproof". 

The three Coalition leaders have discussed the prospect of the State purchasing the lands at St Vincent's Hospital outright to ensure complete control of the hospital. 

Sources said that this process will "take some time". 

Mr Donnelly said that a purchase was his preference, and would be "the cleanest option". 

He said that he would sit down with stakeholders and discuss the purchase with St Vincent's.

“What we need as quickly as possible is a modern maternity hospital," he said. 

"But I will not be bringing any recommendation to the Government unless I’m convinced that the governance, the independence, is bulletproof."

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