Boris Johnson vows to review coronavirus restrictions in hospitals so women can once again have their partner present when they give birth
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged health ministers will look again at rules
- Some hospitals have banned partners from appointments, including scans
- Others said partners could attend when women were in later stages of labour
Boris Johnson has agreed that no woman should have to give birth alone – as he vowed to review coronavirus restrictions introduced by hospitals.
The Prime Minister pledged that health ministers will look again at rules that have seen some fathers barred from attending pregnancy scans and stopped from being at the bedside during labour.
Mr Johnson, who was present at the birth of his son Wilfred in April, said he ‘totally agreed’ this should be the case for all expectant parents.
During the coronavirus pandemic, some hospitals have banned partners from antenatal appointments – including scans. Meanwhile others said partners could be present only when women were in the later stages of labour.
Boris Johnson, who was present at the birth of his son Wilfred in April, said he ‘totally agreed’ this should be the case for all expectant parents
It comes as a pregnant reality star has said she is ‘apprehensive’ about having to give birth alone if current guidelines aren’t overturned. Ashley James, who appeared in Made in Chelsea, urged Mr Johnson to be more ‘sympathetic’ to expectant mothers facing labour without a loved one.
The 33-year-old is expecting her first child with boyfriend Tommy Andrews, 30, in January. ‘The thing I am most apprehensive about, which again we can’t change, is what’s going to happen with Covid and whether Tommy is going to be allowed in the hospital,’ she told MailOnline.
NHS leaders last week published guidance on how hospitals can safely ‘reintroduce’ partners, visitors and other supporters of pregnant women to maternity services in England.
At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Angela Rayner pressed Mr Johnson to ensure no woman is forced to give birth alone. The deputy Labour leader said: ‘We’ve heard of relatives dying alone in care homes and people not being able to say goodbye to their loved ones. We’ve also heard from mothers who have had to give birth without the support of their partners or their family.
‘The Health Secretary yesterday said that the new guidance had been issued, but even under that new guidance, many birth partners will not be allowed to join until that moment of established labour, leaving women enduring difficult labours or even worse, traumatic and devastating miscarriages alone without support.
‘Will the Prime Minister agree to meet with me and my honourable friends and work with us to ensure that no woman is forced to give birth without the support that they need?’
Ashley James, who appeared in Made in Chelsea, urged Mr Johnson to be more ‘sympathetic’ to expectant mothers facing labour without a loved one
Mr Johnson replied: ‘I totally agree that birth partners should be able to attend the birth, that’s why we changed the guidance in the way that we did.
‘But of course I’m very happy to encourage co-operation between her and my right honourable friends in the Health Department to take the matter forward.’
More than 60 MPs wrote to NHS Trusts at the weekend, demanding they all immediately loosen restrictions.
In their letter, they accused local health chiefs of ‘dragging their feet’ and failing to follow Government guidance which allows family members to be present at scans and during labour. It was organised by Tory MP Alicia Kearns, who is pregnant, and was driven by what she has seen in hospitals.
Meanwhile The Mail on Sunday reported that one woman last week gave birth to a stillborn baby at 41 weeks without her partner present.