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MLA Justin McNulty has expressed frustration at maternity visitation restrictions in Southern Trust hospitals.

Photo by Klara Kulikova on Unsplash

The Newry and Armagh MLA has said, “I have been contacted by a number of mothers and partners who are expecting the arrival of a new baby within the coming weeks, and the overarching feeling being communicated to me is one of anxiety and uncertainty”

“I have written to the Southern Trust, and the most up-to-date guidance provided is that birthing partners are permitted to be present for the initial admission, as well as in the delivery suite, but that they must be absent in the intervening period. I am at a loss to understand why the Trust has made the decision to isolate fathers in the car park while a mother endures labour on her own, without the support of her partner.

“In April, my wife gave birth to our first child, so I’m only too aware of how important it is to face the nerve-racking but joyous experience of childbirth together – the idea of having to spend those 10 hours anywhere other than at my wife’s side doesn’t bear thinking about. Every mother will know how long and exhausting labour is, so for very many women, the thought of having to face it alone is a traumatic prospect. Every mother deserves to have her partner’s complete and uninterrupted support throughout that journey.  

“I appreciate that the landscape of healthcare has been completely upended by the pandemic, but at a time when we are able to shop, socialise and gather together in larger numbers, it makes absolutely no sense that both parents, the overwhelming majority of whom come from the same household, cannot be present for the birth of their child.”

Maternity Visiting

The Southern Trust announced their latest guidance on Friday past with visiting restricted to one named birth partner for the following appointments:

  • 12 week booking scan – one birth partner can attend
  • 20 week anomaly scan or other high risk scans – one birth partner can attend
  • In the Delivery room – one birth partner can attend when you are transferred to Delivery Suite or Midwifery Led Unit; they can stay for the birth and until you and your baby is ready for transfer to the maternity ward.
  • Post-natal ward – We will facilitate 1 x 1 hour post natal visit for a named birth partner per stay. Visits will be staggered to minimise numbers of partners on the ward at any time (From 3pm on 23.07.21)

For any queries contact the Maternity Helpline at 028 37563702 Monday, Wednesday & Friday 9am-5pm Or alternatively email:

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