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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Barrow maternity ban on under-16s

NEW rules which will see children banned from visiting maternity wards in hospitals including in Barrow unless the new baby is a sibling, were introduced yesterday.

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new rules The maternity ward at Furness General Hospital is placing new restrictions on visits MILTON HAWORTH REF: 0314533

All sites governed by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust will be affected by the ruling.

It means excited cousins and other children aged under 16 will be prohibited from maternity wards at Furness General Hospital, Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital.

George Nasmyth, medical director the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our priority is to ensure our new mothers and their babies are kept safe and their privacy and dignity is respected at all times on our maternity ward.”

Mr Nasmyth said other hospitals around the country restricted under-16s from visiting babies.

He said: “It is to ensure the safety of the children as well as women and babies on the ward. It also helps us protect newborn babies by reducing the risk of cross-infection whilst their immune systems are so vulnerable.”

The trust sees the scheme as the logical next step in its recent campaign on bugs, where it launched installations and posters warning against the risk of infection.

All three hospitals began placing a greater emphasis on hygiene and care, promoting basic precautions such as hand washing that can prevent serious infections.

The trust says it understands that the new rules may disappoint some families.

Mr Nasmyth said: “Whilst understanding that family or friends will be keen to visit new additions, we are sure they understand that we have to put the safety of our women and babies first.”

Kate Reed, 42, of Kendal, is a mother of three and works with North West Doulas, which helps to care for birthing mothers throughout their pregnancy. She is sceptical about the new rules.

She said: “Maternity services are bombarded by rules and regulations that do not always serve the best interest of the mother and child, even if they say they do.

“As a doula, I wish for all parents to research all their birth options.

“Although some women definitely need to give birth in hospital, there are many who would be better at home.

“Then anybody can come and visit and the mother is in control.”

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