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.
To help reduce the spread of infection, this has meant taking difficult decisions around our visiting policies.
While we have been able to continue to support one birthing partner to attend and stay with a woman during labour, birth and four hours post-delivery, we do appreciate how difficult some of the other changes have been for women and their families in our care.
We have continuously reviewed our safety measures so that we can reintroduce access for partners during antenatal and postnatal inpatient stay at the right time, recognising the importance of keeping our staff safe at the same time.
Following the publication of updated national guidance, we are pleased to announce that we are now able to take a phased approach to reintroducing one partner or accompanying adult to support women in the following settings in addition to labour and birth from Monday 21 September.
Induction of labour
We recognise that induction of labour can take several days from the start of the process to the birth of the baby. The antenatal ward and Hospital Birth Centre can be very busy and this may delay parts of the induction process. Therefore we are not able to have every partner staying from the time the woman is admitted for induction or overnight. We will consider each request carefully and an assessment will be made based on the mother's needs to have a partner or supporting adult present when they feel the need or when labour pains start.
There are no changes to our visiting rules for women during labour. In line with arrangements for induction of labour, birthing partners are allowed to stay with women throughout labour, birth and for up to four hours post-birth (dependent on when the woman and baby are transferred from the labour ward).
Antenatal and postnatal ward
One partner or accompanying adult can visit for up to two hours per day, using a booking system. This will help us maintain social distancing between other visitors and maternity staff. To book a slot, please contact the customer care staff.
- For the antenatal ward, please call 020 7188 0679 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or 020 7188 2964 (Saturday and Sunday, 8am-8.30pm).
- For the postnatal ward, please call 020 7188 6846 (8am-10pm, daily).
Maternity utrasound/fetal medicine led scans
We fully understand the importance of women having the support of a partner or companion during their scans. We are continuously reviewing our approach and listening to the views of our patients during these unprecedented times, and have decided to make some changes to our policy to allow partners to attend some scanning appointments. Please read the information below carefully.
From Monday 12 October:
- one companion or partner is welcome to attend the nuchal/dating scan (12 week scan) and anomaly scan (20 week scan)
- for all fetal medicine consultant led scans, one partner/companion may attend
- at present we cannot extend this provision to any other scans, but will be keeping this under review
- the wearing of a face covering is mandatory, and it is essential that you wash and/or gel your hands prior to attending
- unfortunately, children are not permitted.
Due to the layout of our scanning department, and to make sure social distancing measures are in place to protect our patients and staff, please follow these steps when attending your scan appointments.
- On arrival to St Thomas' Hospital, only the patient should travel up to the 8th floor of North Wing to book in for the appointment. You will then be asked to take a seat. Your partner/companion should wait downstairs, outside of the hospital if possible to avoid overcrowding inside.
- When it is time for your appointment, your sonographer/midwife/consultant will call you in to the room and confirm the room number you will be in. At this point you should text/call your partner to ask them to come to the 8th floor, and confirm the room you will be in.
- Your partner/companion should arrive at the 8th floor, confirm to the security/wayfinder which room you are in, and will be shown to the room.
- It is essential that we all continue to respect social distancing at all times, and any instructions given by our staff are followed.
Partners/companions should not wait in the lobby area outside of the scan department. Anyone waiting here will be asked to leave.
We thank you for your support and understanding, and appreciate how difficult the current times are. We are continuously reviewing our policy and approach, so please continue to check our website for further updates.
All other outpatient appointments
For all other outpatient appointments including antenatal and postnatal appointments and attendance to maternity assessment unit for triage, there are no changes to the current restrictions. Women should continue to attend unaccompanied.
We are continuously monitoring the national and local guidance to ensure the safety of our patients and staff and will update the website with any changes. Your help and support in achieving this is very much appreciated.
Information for visitors
In order for us to achieve social distancing, optimise safety and limit the potential transmission of COVID-19 between other visitors and the maternity team you will need to carefully follow the conditions below.
- If you or anyone in the household is symptomatic or has been swabbed as COVID-19 positive within the last 10 days, you will not be able to accompany your partner.
- If your partner admitted to the ward is symptomatic or has been swabbed as COVID-19 positive within the last 10 days, you will not be able to visit.
- One designated birth partner / visitor only and from the same social bubble (no swapping at any time).
- Visitors must wear a face mask at all times.
- When entering the ward, please go straight to your partner’s bedside, draw the curtains around the bed and remain by the bed until leaving the ward.
- Wash and/or gel hands upon entering and exiting the ward or clinical area.
- Only use designated visitors toilets, preferably on the ground floor prior to coming up to the ward/clinical area.
- No children permitted including siblings.
- Please use good hand hygiene at all times.
- Please do not eat or drink whilst you are on the ward/clinical area.
- If your partner is being discharged outside of the scheduled visiting times, you will need to wait in the reception area for them.
- If your partner is admitted to the ward outside of the booked visiting time you will not be able to access the ward.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.