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Seven maternity hospitals not fully compliant with easing of Covid restrictions

12 of the 19 maternity hospitals were found to be fully compliant.

Dr Colm Henry at the weekly HSE Covid-19 update today.
Dr Colm Henry at the weekly HSE Covid-19 update today.
Image: Sam Boal

SEVEN MATERNITY HOSPITALS have yet to become fully compliant with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions around high-risk pregnancies that took place in June.

The HSE’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said today that the Covid-19 guidelines for maternity hospitals were revised most recently in June.

At this point restrictions were eased for Early Pregnancy Assessment Units, for routine visits where a woman was considered a high risk pregnancy, and for emergency presentations in late gestation.

Dr Colm Henry told a press briefing today that a follow-up analysis has shown that the “great majority” of the hospitals are fully compliant across those three areas.

He added that, in some isolated cases, particularly regarding high risk pregnancies, some hospitals were only partially compliant.

The latest survey found that 12 of the 19 maternity units were fully compliant for routine visits where a woman was considered a high risk pregnancy, the other seven were found to be only partially compliant.  

For emergency presentations in late gestation, 15 were found to be fully compliant and four were partially compliant.

All but one of the maternity hospitals were fully compliant with the easing of restrictions on Early Pregnancy Assessment Units.

Dr Henry said the HSE is working with the hospitals that aren’t fully compliant and he expects them to be operating within the guidelines in the coming week.

“There were some difficulties and differences between the units, in terms of infrastructure and in terms of how they responded and how quickly they responded, but the general trend is towards full compliance,” Dr Henry said.

An earlier round of Covid-19 restrictions on maternity wards was relaxed earlier this year.

A survey carried out in May found that all 19 hospitals were compliant with the easing of earlier restrictions, including allowing partners on the labour ward during labour, daily postnatal visits of at least 30-minutes and allowing partners to attend anomaly scans.

Hospital figures

Speaking at today’s briefing, HSE CEO Paul Reid shed some light on the situation around Covid-19 cases in hospitals, which the government had sought clearer data on.

Reid said around 70% of people in hospital with Covid-19 are there because of the disease. 

“The majority of cases in hospital are there because they contracted Covid. A smaller number may have acquired it in hospital. An even smaller number may be in for other reasons but test positive in hospital,” he said.

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The HSE chief said every Covid-19 patient has a “disproportionate effect” on the health system.

“All of them have to be isolated to prevent spread. Staff precautions need to be taken, elective care is impacted. Isolation capacity is limited with ageing infrastructure,” Reid said.

The latest statistics show that there are 160 patients with Covid-19 in hospital in Ireland, with 26 in intensive care units.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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