Expectant parents in Northampton will be able to bring a support person along with them to some appointments if they agree to be tested for COVID-19.
From Monday 12th April pregnant patients will be allowed to bring one support person with them as long as they agree to have a test for COVID-19.
Testing will be required to allow one support person to attend:
- the 12 and 20 week scan appointment
- fetal medicine clinic appointments
The 30 minute tests required are lateral flow tests which require a swab of the nose and throat.
Patients and their support person will need to have completed a lateral flow test at home as part of a regular testing programme, or access the onsite testing facility and have had a negative result. The test is a simple swab test of the nose and throat.
Trish Ryan, Deputy Director of Midwifery said: “We would like to thank all of our patients and their support people for their patience as we have worked to develop a safe option to allow visiting.
“We had hoped to reintroduce visiting for pregnancy scans at the end of last year, however, due to the small space available in the rooms and poor ventilation we were unable to do this. Throughout the pandemic, our teams in radiology, estates and maternity have been working tirelessly to find an alternative solution. I am delighted that we now have a safe option available to allow a support person to visit during the scan appointment.
“We have introduced lateral flow testing which will provide rapid testing for our patients and their support person attending some of their maternity appointments. This means that we can ensure our pregnant patients can have a support person with them and that we can keep our other patients and staff safe from COVID-19.
“We look forward to being able to welcome some of our visitors back soon to these special appointments.”
If a patient does not want to bring a support person with them, they can attend their appointment as normal without needing to be tested. If a support person declines a test, they will be unable to attend.
If a test has been undertaken at home you can attend at the normal time. We would ask that this is done as close to the appointment time as possible and that patients and their support person bring their test cartridge or result with them.
If using the hospital’s onsite test facility, patients and their support person will need to arrive at the test centre location in Area Q, 45 minutes before their appointment time to allow time for the tests to be undertaken.
If a support person tests positive they will not be able to attend the appointment and isolate as per government guidance. You will then need to book a further test via the NHS website.
Patients and their support person should ensure they have read the FAQ’s and testing information before their appointment. These are all available on the hospital website.
Anyone attending an appointment, whether they have been tested or not, must wear a face covering and adhere to infection prevention and social distancing guidelines.
This change will only apply to maternity appointments on site at Northampton General Hospital. Other restrictions on visiting remain in place and maternity visiting arrangements for pre and post birth remain the same.
Anyone in England can now apply for home testing kits from the government online or by phone: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests