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30 Sept 2022

Tipperary parents-to-be hit by Covid restrictions following outbreak at maternity hospital

Tipperary parents-to-be hit by Covid restrictions following outbreak at maternity hospital

Tipperary parents-to-be hit by Covid restrictions following outbreak at maternity hospital

Tipperary parents-to-be using the maternity hospital in Limerick have been advised that extra Covid-19 restrictions have been put in place following an outreak of the virus in the hospital.

Access for nominated support partners to inpatient wards is being limited to one two-hour slot per day between 2pm and 8pm. These slots will be co-ordinated at ward level by staff, who will link directly with service users and nominated support partners, according to a statement from University Hospital Limerick Group

"We recognise that this represents a considerable reduction in access on our inpatient wards. We will facilitate additional access for inpatients on compassionate grounds on a case-by-case basis where these restrictions are causing considerable distress. We are committed to increasing access for partners on our inpatient wards as soon as possible," they said.

An online system is available for nominated support partners to complete a Covid-19 questionnaire in advance of attending the hospital. Partners are also being encouraged to consider taking an antigen test in advance of attending UMHL should they have one at home.

These temporary new restrictions affect inpatient wards only and nominated support partners continue to be permitted access to the following areas in UMHL, regardless of vaccination status, once a Covid-19 questionnaire and temperature screening has been completed at the hospital reception:

- Labour Ward: throughout labour and delivery

- Theatre: including Elective and Emergency C-Section

- NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) / HDU (High Dependency Unit): designated time slots for fathers/parents of babies

- EPAU (Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit)

- Emergency high risk admissions

- 12-Week Scan

- Anomaly Scan

Nominated support partners are asked not to access the hospital if they have symptoms of Covid-19 

The hosipital group said that an outbreak of Covid-19 was declared on an inpatient ward on December 28 after a number of patients tested positive.

"However, as a precautionary measure, we are introducing these access restrictions to all inpatient wards. The restrictions are being introduced at a time of high community transmission which is affecting patients and staff. We expect to admit a number of women who have tested positive in the coming days and Covid-19 related staff absences are increasing across the health service," they said.

An outbreak control team has been established and the group wanted to reassure patients and their loved ones that all appropriate infection control precautions are being followed to minimise the risk of spreading.

"We also recognise the difficulty and distress any restriction in access causes to service users and their loved ones. We will continue to facilitate access for nominated support partners to the greatest degree practicable. These temporary restrictions will be reviewed on a continuing basis and we will issue a further update in the coming days," they said.

Staff at UMHL will continue to engage with patients and their partners to ensure they are informed of any changes around access for partners/nominated support persons, the statement said.

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