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.
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away free music lessons
Manchester music store Forsyth is giving away a host of free music lessons next month in a bid to inspire people to learn a new instrument, or pick up an old one.
The store is giving new and returning musicians a chance to receive a 10–15-minute free music taster session as part of its Music for All Learn to Play ’22 event.
Taking place across 8 and 9 October between 10am-5pm (8 October) and 1130am-30pm (9 October),short taster music lessons will allow all ages and abilities to have a musical experience that could turn into a lifetime of enjoyment, or even a new career.
Speaking on the free music lesson initiative, Emma from Forsyths said: “The past two years have shown how important music is to all our lives and how it can bring people together even in the most difficult of circumstances.
“We aim to help as many people as possible understand the unique joys and benefits of learning an instrument (or taking part in a choir).
“Anyone interested in learning to play an instrument or looking to pick it up again, should come and join us for this two-day celebration of music making.
“We’re delighted to be part of Music for All’s Learn to Play ’22 event, and we can’t wait to get started.”
OBE Jools Holland, Patron of Music for All, said: “Making music is very important to me. It’s my work, my pleasure, my friend, companion and therapist.
The charity Music for All believes passionately in the unique power of music to change lives and that is why it runs Learn to Play.
Music for All believes everyone should have equal access to music making.
The charity supports disadvantaged music makers by providing cash grants for tuition and instruments and by donating instruments directly.
Celebrated author Dame Hilary Mantel has died ‘suddenly yet peacefully’ aged 70
Dame Hilary Mantel has died aged 70.
The unexpected passing of the critically-acclaimed author whose celebrated career spans nearly five decades has just been announced by her agents 4th Estate Books and her publishing team at HarperCollins in two separate statements released this morning – who confirmed that she died “suddenly yet peacefully”.
The Glossop-born writer was famed for historical fiction work, and was most-known for being the author of the beloved Wolf Hall trilogy.
The statement by her agents confirming her passing reads: “We are heartbroken at the death of our beloved author, Dame Hilary Mantel, and our thoughts are with her friends and family, especially her husband, Gerald.
“This is a devastating loss and we can only be grateful she left us with such a magnificent body of work.”
Mantel’s publishers HarperCollins called her “one of the greatest English novelists of this century”.
The company’s statement reads: “It is with great sadness that AM Heath and HarperCollins announce that bestselling author Dame Hilary Mantel DBE died suddenly yet peacefully yesterday, surrounded by close family and friends, aged 70.
“Hilary Mantel was one of the greatest English novelists of this century and her beloved works are considered modern classics.
Mantel has twice been awarded the Booker Prize, the first time for the 2009 novel Wolf Hall, a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII, and secondly for the 2012 novel Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of the Cromwell trilogy.
She was the first woman, and fourth person, to receive the award twice.