News & Media

Restrictions on partners in maternity hospitals need to be reviewed on compassionate grounds

22 October 2020

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services
AlanK

Labour Leader Alan Kelly has called on the Government to consider modifying the restrictions on partners not being allowed to accompany or visit expectant mothers during and after pregnancy.

Speaking at Leader’s Questions, Deputy Kelly urged the Tánaiste to change the restrictions on compassionate grounds.

Deputy Kelly said:

“I was struck by Áine, a constituent I met last Friday who recently lost a baby in University Maternity Hospital Limerick after a three months scan on her own in devastating circumstances. While I understand that Dr Peter McKenna, HSE clinical director of the women and infant’s programme has done an analysis on maternity services, I really believe we need to some to tweak them particularly on compassionate grounds.

“We cannot allow a situation where people who have enough money for private healthcare can have their partners present at a scan and those who do not cannot. I am not asking you to decide immediately, but I am looking for you to give this consideration.

“This woman’s story, the way she was left crying and then had to go back to a ward where women where so joyous because of the children they had just been given and she was left alone is barbaric. This woman and her husband will both need therapy because of the traumatic experience she endured due to her experience with our maternity services due to Covid.

“We need to modify these restrictions to allow partners accompany the expectant mother at key periods throughout the pregnancy and they need to be immediately brought in as soon as and in the event of bad news. The site of husbands and partners sitting in cars outside maternity hospitals around the country is heart breaking, we can and must do better.

“I was contacted by a woman from Limerick, Jennifer Purcell who was told she couldn’t apply for maternity benefit online because she didn’t have a PSC card, but she can’t actually get a PSC card because they have stopped offering appointments due to the Level 5 restrictions. We need to change how we treat pregnant people during this pandemic and I am asking the Government to show flexibility and compassion.