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Maternity visiting hours

 

Visiting maternity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

During these unprecedented times, we have been working hard to keep women, partners, babies and staff safe. Partners attending routine outpatient appointments and planned scans will need to have a negative rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) test (also known as a lateral flow test) 24 hours before. Further details on this and our current visiting policy are below.

Community midwife clinics

We still strongly advise women to attend appointments alone wherever possible so we can maintain social distancing and keep you, your family and our staff safe. We understand that at some appointments it may be important for you to have the support of a partner or companion. From Monday 12 April 2021 you will be able to bring one support partner to routine appointments in our community sites, subject to a negative rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) test (also known as a lateral flow test).

In order to attend the appointments, support partners must have had a rapid COVID-19 test within 24 hours of your appointment at your local pharmacy, GP or asymptomatic testing centre. When you come for your appointment you will need to provide proof of a negative rapid COVID-19 test from the government test reporting system.

If you do not provide proof we will unfortunately not be able to allow you in to the department.

There will be clear signs in the community clinic advising where you should wait.

Scan and clinic appointments at St Thomas’ Hospital

We fully understand the importance of women having the support of a partner or companion during key appointments and scans. From Monday 12 April 2021 support partners may attend all appointments and scans. We strongly advise patients to attend alone where possible to help keep our staff and other patients safe.

In order to attend the appointments and scans, support partners must have had a rapid COVID-19 test (also known as a lateral flow test) within 24 hours of your appointment or scan at your local pharmacy, GP or asymptomatic testing centre. When you come for your appointment or scan you will need to provide proof of a negative rapid coronavirus test from the government test reporting system.

If you do not provide proof we will unfortunately not be able to allow you in to the department.

Attending your appointment

  • Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your planned appointment time. If you arrive earlier, please wait on the ground floor of the main hospital.
  • On arrival, your support partner must show their negative lateral flow test to the security guard or receptionist.
  • For appointments in the fetal medicine unit (light blue zone), please wait in the fetal medicine unit waiting area. Your companion or partner should go directly to the orange waiting zone (signposted). When it is time for your appointment, please text or call your companion or partner and tell them which room you are in. Your companion or partner can then proceed to the room in the fetal medicine unit.
  • For appointments in women's ultrasound (pink zone), you and your companion or partner will be directed to the women's ultrasound waiting area. If there is not enough space, please wait in the orange waiting zone.
  • For antenatal clinic appointments, please wait in the antenatal clinic waiting area. If there is not enough space, please wait in either the orange waiting area, or in a seating area located along one of the corridors. Reception staff can assist you.

COVID-19 testing – inpatients and admissions

All patients will be asked to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire and have a COVID-19 test on admission. This will include both a rapid test and PCR test (which is sent to the lab) so we can make sure you are cared for in an appropriate environment.

If you are being admitted in labour, your support partner(s) will be asked to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test in the last 24 hours. These tests are widely available from your local pharmacy, GP or asymptomatic testing centre or they can be ordered online in advance. If you are unable to do this we will offer a rapid COVID-19 test on site but there will be a 15 to 30 minute wait for the result. If you think you
will need on-site testing we will ask you to provide details of your intended
birth partner at your 36 week appointment so that we can register them on the clinical system in preparation for this test. You can fill in their details on the maternity partner and parent LFD testing registration form on the Smart Survey website.

We understand there are some circumstances in which your intended birth partner will change between your 36 week appointment and giving birth. Please inform us of any change as soon as possible, even if it is on the day.

If your partner is visiting you as an inpatient, they must have a negative rapid COVID-19 test every 3 days, which will be presented to the receptionist on arrival.

Your partner should not attend if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. If you are in labour and your partner's rapid COVID-19 test is positive and they do not have any symptoms, your partner will be allowed to stay during labour and birth provided they stay in the birth room and follow the Trust's infection control policy, including wearing a face mask at all times. They will be asked to follow government guidelines and return home and self-isolate after the birth.

Visiting policy – maternity inpatients and during labour

Please read below for our current visiting policy for each inpatient area. All visitors must make sure they check in with reception staff.

Induction of labour

You can bring one named support partner or companion during the induction of labour phase. Please make sure you follow the instructions of the clinical teams about infection control requirements. We recommend that partners do not stay overnight unless necessary so you and your partner are able to rest.

Hospital birth centre and home from home

If you are admitted in established labour you may have up to 2 named birth partners to stay with you throughout labour and birth. If you do have a second birth partner with you they must leave the unit by 4 hours post-birth. Any birth partners will be asked to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test from the last 24 hours. Visit the gov.uk website to order a test or you can collect a test from your local pharmacy or asymptomatic testing centre. If you are unable to do this we will offer a rapid COVID-19 test on site for 1 partner only but there will be a 15 to 30 minute wait for the result.  

Obstetric high dependency unit

If you are transferred to the obstetric high dependency unit, one birth partner can stay for 4 hours after you have given birth and your second birth partner has been asked to leave. Visiting times are from 1pm to 8pm and no partners are allowed to stay overnight.

Antenatal and postnatal wards

Only 1 person can visit throughout the duration of your stay. On the antenatal ward your named visitor can be with you from 9am to 8pm. On the postnatal ward your named visitor can be with you at all times apart from 8am to 10am, when we ask that they leave the ward for protected time. Your visitor is required to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test from the last 3 days to visit the ward. They need to provide a new test result every 3 days. If you or your named visitor test positive for COVID-19 they will not be able to visit the ward.

Visiting policy – emergency attendances

If you need to visit our maternity assessment unit or early pregnancy unit in an emergency, the patient should proceed straight to the department. Where possible support partners should wait outside of the hospital, and will be called if they are required to provide support.

If you are admitted in labour, please see COVID-19 testing – inpatients and admissions.

Information for support partners, companions or visitors

  • The wearing of a surgical face mask is mandatory while you are inside the hospital, and it is essential that you wash or gel your hands before attending.
  • Children are not permitted, including siblings.
  • It is essential that we all continue to respect social distancing at all times, and any instructions given by our staff are followed.
  • We reserve the right to restrict access if it is deemed unsafe or to maintain social distancing.
  • You should not wait in the lobby area. Anyone waiting there will be asked to leave.
  • If you or anyone in your household is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days, you will not be able to accompany the patient.
  • If the patient admitted to the ward is symptomatic, has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days or tested positive when they arrived at hospital, you will not be able to stay with them or visit.
  • Only one designated partner or visitor per patient is allowed. You must be from the same social bubble.
  • Only use designated visitor's toilets, preferably on the ground floor before coming up to the ward or clinical area.
  • Do not eat or drink while you are on the ward or clinical area.
  • If the patient is being discharged outside of the scheduled visiting times, you will need to wait in the reception area for them.
  • If the patient is admitted to the ward outside of the booked visiting time you will not be able to access the ward.

Locations

Maternity serviceLocation
Antenatal Ward 7th floor, North Wing, St Thomas'
Tel: 020 7188 0685
Postnatal Ward 6th floor, North Wing, St Thomas'
Tel: 020 7188 6846
Home from Home Birth Centre (HFH)
and Hospital Birth Centre

7th floor, North Wing, St Thomas'

Home from Home tel: 020 7188 2964
Hospital Birth Centre tel: 020 7188 2973 

COVID-19 testing for partners

Please provide details of your intended birth partner at your 36 week appointment.

Register for partner or parent lateral flow testing (LFT) on the Smart Survey website.