Access for birth partners in region's hospitals is "postcode lottery"

There are claims it’s a postcode lottery when it comes to the access being given to birth partners in our region's hospitals.

Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell has urged the government to look at why some hospitals are still not allowing all birth partners to scans and appointments.

She says others are only allowing a birth partner to be with a patient during established labour and it’s leaving some facing long and painful labours on their own.

During lockdown, birth partners were unable to attend maternity appointments and early stages of labour, with some even missing their children's birth.

But in June, and again in September, NHS England advised hospital trusts to reintroduce birthing partners, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying partners should be present "throughout each stage of pregnancy".

According to the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed:

The Department for Health told ITV Tyne Tees:

  • We understand and appreciate the importance and the benefits of women having their partners with them during this time.

  • This is for NHS England to review how their guidance is being implemented by Trusts.

  • It would not be for the Government to intervene with any operational guidance sent to Trusts about the restrictions to maternity appointments.

Ellen Thompson from Houghton le Spring had her daughter Primrose in April. Her partner missed many of her growth scans and could only stay with them for two hours after she was born.

Olivia Major from Newcastle is 36 weeks pregnant with her second child and says it’s been a lonely pregnancy with her husband missing so much.