Pregnant women in England are to be allowed a partner by their side during maternity appointments, labour, and after birth following a revision in COVID-19 guidelines by the NHS.
The new guidelines – which have been drawn up by public health officials in a recently-published document – are making it possible for new mothers to have someone with them “at all times”, providing their birthing partner isn’t showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
This means that expectant mothers can now be supported from scans and midwife appointments, all the way through to immediate postnatal care, whereas previous restrictions sadly forced them to attended certain appointments alone.
The previous rules also saw variation depending on where they lived.
Under the new restrictions published on Monday in a document called ‘Supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic: Actions for NHS providers’ however, health trusts across the country are being requested to review their current rules.
The document reads: “Pregnant women value the support from a partner, relative, friend or other person through pregnancy and childbirth as it facilitates emotional wellbeing and is a key component of safe and personalised maternity care.
“It is therefore our aim, further to a risk assessment, that a woman should have access to support from a person of her choosing at all stages of her maternity journey and that all trusts should facilitate this as quickly as possible.
“At the same time it is our priority to prevent and control COVID-19 infection and keep women and staff safe.
“Many trusts have already found creative solutions to overcome remaining challenges and they have maximised the support that pregnant women can receive throughout their pregnancy.
“It is important now that all trusts do this.”
Health chiefs are being asked to undertake a risk assessment in each part of their maternity service.
This is to see where there could be an increased risk of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19) if a birthing partner is present, and tackle any issues with “appropriate infection prevention and control measures”, including training and PPE.
Pregnant mothers and their support partner should also be tested before they attend 12 and 20 week scans, and any other maternity-related appointments.
The proposed changes have been welcomed by many maternity professionals and campaign groups.
Birthright – an organisation that promotes human rights in pregnancy and childbirth – welcomed the changes in a tweet that read: “Delighted to see the revised guidance for visiting in maternity services, recognising that #partnersarenotvisitors, that they are a “key component of safe and personalised maternity care” who should be included throughout.”
You can read the document in full via the NHS England website here.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
This hidden Manchester pasta and dumplings restaurant has just made the Michelin Guide
Michelin has just added some new additions to its guide, and one of our favourite Manchester restaurants has finally made the cut.
Loved by locals for its continental pasta and dumplings, gorgeous European wine list and sake collection, The Sparrows in the Green Quarter is something of a hidden gem – tucked in a disused railway arch on Red Bank.
It received rave reviews from local and national critics alike when it first opened in 2019 in a tiny space with room for just 12 covers. Since then, it’s relocated to a bigger home and its following has grown significantly.
After spending years wowing foodies in the know, the restaurant has made it onto the radar of Michelin’s inspectors at last – and we have to say, the accolade is well deserved indeed.
Front of house is headed up by Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock with her chef partner Franco Concli at the helm in the kitchen. Plates celebrate Franco’s Tyrolean heritage, with their signature dish spätzle, a rustic fresh egg pasta from which the restaurant takes its name, sitting front and centre.
Traditionally made by scraping dough from the wooden board straight into a pot of boiling water, these irregular-shaped delights translate from Swabian-German to mean “little sparrows.”
Served in multiples ways, they can be enjoyed either savoury or sweet – mixed with braised onions into a creamy gruyere and Emmental cheese sauce, as is traditional, or transformed into a pudding with a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
Joining the now seventeen Manchester restaurants to be featured in the prestigious guide, its description reads as follows: “Nestled under the railway arches in Manchester’s Green Quarter is a restaurant whose name is (almost) the English translation of the word ‘spätzle’ – which gives some clue as to the style of food on offer here.
“The dumplings and assorted pasta dishes are all made in-house and include excellent pierogi. The focus on Eastern Europe carries through to the wine list, which has a leaning towards Polish wines.”
A welcome new addition, if you haven’t yet visited then we recommend you book in swiftly. No doubt the news of its conclusion in the Michelin Guide will send reservations filling up pretty sharpish.
Feature image – Google Maps
New DNA evidence could clear ‘innocent’ man who spent 17 years in prison for Salford rape
A man who spent 17 years in prison for a rape he has continued to claim he did not commit has now been granted a fresh appeal after DNA was linked to an alternative suspect.
57-year-old Andrew Malkinson from Grimsby was convicted by a jury verdict of 10-2 of strangling and raping a woman in Little Hulton in Salford back in 2003, and was jailed for life following a trial at Manchester Crown Court in February 2004.
The victim – who had been walking home alone in the early hours of 19 July 2003 – was sexually assaulted after being throttled until the point of unconsciousness, and also suffered a broken neck and a fractured cheekbone during the attack.
There was no DNA or other forensic evidence linking Mr Malkinson to the crime at the time, and the prosecution case relied mainly on identification evidence from eyewitnesses.
This is why he has always maintained his innocence and insisted it was a case of mistaken identity.
Mr Malkinson had twice been refused an appeal in the past after applying for his case to be reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) – which is the body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice – but after being released on license from prison back in 2020, scientific techniques have advanced, and this has potentially lead to some new evidence.
The legal team at the charity APPEAL was able to commission new DNA testing that revealed the presence of unknown male DNA in samples taken from the victim and her clothing, and this “breakthrough” has therefore cast doubt on Mr Malkinson’s conviction.
APPEAL Director Emily Bolton said “the battle for justice is not yet over”, adding that the CCRC “will now form its own view of the fresh evidence and we hope they will agree that Andy’s conviction cannot now be regarded as safe.”
Mr Malkinson says he “finally has the chance to prove his innocence”.
“I am innocent,” Mr Malkinson questioned in a statement provided by his legal representatives.
“Finally, I have the chance to prove it thanks to the perseverance of my legal team at APPEAL. I only have one life and so far 20 years of it has been stolen from me. Yesterday I turned 57 years old. How much longer will it take?”
As well as the case having being referred back to the CCRC this week, in light of new information, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed last month that it had arrested a 48-year-old man from Exeter on suspicion of rape, but he has since been released under investigation.
Addressing Mr Malkinson’s case, CCRC chairwoman Helen Pitcher said: “The new results raise concerns about the safety of these serious convictions.
“It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide whether they should be quashed.
“New evidence can come to light years after a conviction, and in the ever-changing world of forensic science, it is crucial an independent body can undertake these enquiries and send cases of concern back to court.
“Following Mr Malkinson’s application, we used our special powers and expertise to re-examine this case, instructing experts to undertake state-of-the-art DNA testing.”