Demonstrations in maternity hospitals against restrictions

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A number of nationwide protests took place in maternity hospitals today.

Protests organized by the Association for the Improvement of Maternity Services (AIMS) in Ireland highlight the problems people face because of Covid-19.

These include the exclusion of partners from pregnancy appointments and early stages of labor.

“We need a constructive dialogue and a solutions-oriented approach, and we encourage the Minister of Health, HSE, NWIHP [National Women and Infants Health Programme] and CEOs of hospital groups to come together to find an immediate solution to this problem, ”said AIMS Ireland President Krysia Lynch.

The protests took place in Dublin, Louth and Donegal this afternoon.

Laurel Fiszer Storey joined a handful of protesters outside the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street in Dublin.

Co Wicklow’s 37-year-old mother is currently undergoing IVF treatment and is at a critical stage in the embryo transfer process.

Her husband Tim cannot attend the clinic due to current restrictions.

“He won’t be there when I’m pregnant, it’s totally weird and it kind of takes our privacy away from the process,” Fiszer Storey told RTÉ News.

She said she really wanted her husband to be with her so “he could hold my hand.”

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said there was no evidence to convince the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) that the restrictions had to be in place.

Hospitals have the right to carry out their own risk assessment of Covid-19 as part of public health measures.

At Coombe’s Maternity Hospital in Dublin, expectant fathers wait outside, many in their cars waiting to be called inside by hospital staff.

Darragh and Yesim with their newborn baby Fionn

Darragh Flynn’s wife Yesim gave birth to their son Fionn on Saturday.

Mr. Flynn is only allowed to see him three hours a day. “It’s really difficult,” he explains.

“I’m not here so I can’t support her. You want to be present. Nurses and midwives are great, but they are no substitute for me, ”said Flynn.

Rebecca Woods joined the small, socially distant protest at Coombe Hospital.

The 28-year-old woman from Walkinstown in Dublin is 11 weeks pregnant. “I am here not only for myself but for all the other mothers to be in Ireland,” she said.

“Going through the birth alone, trying to figure out when you can let your husband see you is difficult. “

Ms Woods called on hospitals to “do the right thing” and relax the rules to allow husbands and partners to be by their side.

In Dáil, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he agreed that hospitals should lift restrictions on partners attending maternity hospitals.

He said there were now high levels of immunization across the country and he had spoken to the CEO of HSE about facilitating access.

He was responding to Labor leader Alan Kelly, who said the current restrictions were “barbaric and wrong”.

Deputy Kelly said there needs to be “consistency” between hospitals.

Earlier, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said it was the National Policy of the Health Service Executive to facilitate partner visits to enable them to attend maternity appointments.

Speaking at the launch of the government’s strategic plan for health in Ireland, Minister Donnelly said the HSE position was that visits should be extended regarding the matter.

However, he added that the HSE recognized that maternity hospitals or units should have the power locally to maintain restrictions on partners attending dates if, for example, there has been an outbreak of Covid-19 in the area. hospital or a high rate of cases in the immediate area.

He said that in such a case, hospitals and units have the discretion to deviate from national policy, but if they do, they must notify the HSE in writing and provide proof of their decision.

Minister Donnelly said his own point of view is that “we need the visitation to be as wide as possible; it has been very, very difficult for moms, it has been very, very difficult for partners as well.”

He said he thinks “the HSE probably has the right balance” when he says there needs to be wide access when it comes to partner visits for dates, but they need to adhere to the local considerations when making decisions to restrict visits.

Additional reporting: Aengus Cox, David Murphy


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