On Monday NHS rules changed in England so that pregnant women can have one person with them at all times during maternity appointments, labour and after birth.
The blanket ban on visiting patients or accompanying them to hospital appointments in England was lifted on 5 June, leaving individual NHS authorities to decide on rules around outpatient appointments. But many NHS authorities continued to prevent partners from attending scans, leaving pregnant women in some parts of the country, including Hallam, to attend important pregnancy appointments alone.
Earlier this year I raised this issue with the government and NHS Trusts on behalf of a number of my constituents who got in touch. I didn’t know then that I would be experiencing a miscarriage in August and having to go through some of the issues that my constituents had raised with me: going to A&E, my partner having to wait in the car park, being unable to have a hug, someone to hold my hand or support to hear the news that I was having a miscarriage.
This is therefore very welcome news for pregnant women across England, many of whom up until now have been forced to go through some of the most difficult moments of their life, alone. I said earlier this year that I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I had gone through. And now, hopefully, they won’t have to.
This change of rules must be implemented quickly and fully in every NHS trust in England, so that pregnant women can be supported properly. I will be writing to my local NHS trust to ask how they plan on implementing the guidelines.
You can listen to me sharing my own experience on BBC Radio 4 earlier this year: