ROTHERHAM Hospital has today announced changes to its maternity services arrangements in a bid to protect patients, staff and the public amid the coronavirus pandemic, including restricting the numbers of people who can go into the hospital with expectant mums.
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Rotherham Hospital, announced that due to Covid-19 and the increasing need to protect women, babies and staff, changes were being made in their maternity services.
The trust said they did appreciate that during the times of pregnancy, birth and beyond, mums and their families needed their support the most, adding: "We are committed to providing safe, compassionate and supportive maternity care."
Patients attending antenatal appointments and ultrasound scans will be contacted to check they are fit and well and given advice on how and where the appointment will be carried out.
The hospital trust urged anyone with these appointmenst to attend alone and leave anyone accompanying person to wait outside.
All patients at the hospital are currently barred from having visitors on the ward.
Pregnant mums needing to be assessed during their pregnancy will be triaged in the hospital's delivery suite.
Anyone with concerns during their pregnancy should call the trust on 01709 427700.
Staff taking calls will ask about callers' health and whether or not they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19.
A spokesman said: "It is very important you advise the staff of any symptoms so that they can prepare for your care appropriately - again, if you need to attend the hospital, you are asked to come in alone.
"All women coming into the hospital to give birth are advised to call the delivery suite first when in early labour to receive further advice and information.
"You can have only one birth partner in the hospital with you. Yo will be unable to change birth-partners during labour and relatives will be unable to wait outside the delivery suite.
"This is to protect you, your partner, the staff and others in the area. You will have time together following the birth of your baby on delivery suite.
"Before admission into the delivery suite, staff will ask questions about your birth partners health, and if they are found to have any symptoms of Covid-19 they will be asked to not attend the unit with you.
"You are asked when making your plans for labour to identify alternative birth partners in case this becomes necessary.
"Staff will be checking temperatures of anyone who accompanies you on arrival on the delivery suite.
"When it is safe to do so, you may be discharged home from the delivery suite."
Those having a planned Caesarean section birth will be allowed one birth partner but this person will not be allowed into theatre if they have symptoms of coronavirus.
Anyone admitted to a ward for induction of labour will not be able to have their birth partner with them but they will be able to join them once labour is established.
Visitors are not allowed on the maternity ward, either.
he spokesman added: "Please be aware this advice is only guidance and may change at any point.
"The hospital trust will keep you informed at every step if any changes need to be made.
"We appreciate everyone's understanding at this testing and uncertain time and hope patients understand the decisions that are being made to you and your loved ones safe."Midwives are still carrying out home visits but with minimal hands-on contact will be invovled and visitors barred from the house during visits.
Home births can still be undertaken, but women wishing to have a home birth are being advised to contact their midwives for advice.
For patients needing advice on feeding their baby, the trust said the benefits of breast-feeding outweighed any potential risks of transmitting the virus through breast milk.
The following guidance should be observed:
The trust said the new guidance announced today could be regularly changed.
For all the latest updates for Rotherham Hospital, visit: http://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/