Peter Malinauskas MP, SA Labor Leader, Chris Picton MP, Shadow Minister for Health & Wellbeing (SA), Joint Media Release, 19 January 2022
Labor is calling for a common sense approach to current COVID-19 birthing restrictions in hospitals so the father, partner or a designated support person who tests negative on a RAT can be present for the entire labour and for the mother and baby’s stay in hospital.
It comes amid widespread community concern about strict rules limiting the time a father, partner or a designated support person can be at hospitals.
One mother has started a petition amassing 20,000 signatures calling for an easing of restrictions surrounding child birth at hospitals.
For instance, at the Lyell McEwin Hospital, a father, partner or designated support person is only allowed to attend hospital once labour is underway and must leave four hours after the child is born.
Some parents have reported partners are not allowed in until the mother is 4cm dilated and classed as in the “active” stage of labour.
At Flinders Medical Centre, partners are allowed to be present for “labour, birth and after delivery as determined by the hospital” amid anecdotal reports of partners being asked to leave soon after the child is born.
This morning on ABC Radio, the Health Minister defended the rules:
Bevan: Does this make sense to you Minister?
Wade: The Local Health Network knows their hospital far better than I do.
Quotes attributable to SA Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas
Child birth can be a stressful time in normal circumstances, but if the mother is left on her own, this can only add to the stress. I really feel for mothers and fathers who are left in this terrible position.
We all understand the need for COVID-19 restrictions, but surely a common sense approach can be applied in this instance.
If someone has tested negative and is allowed into the hospital, why not allow them to be present for the entire labour and the mother’s stay in hospital?
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Health & Wellbeing Chris Picton
It is vitally important that mothers get the support from their partners, and new dads and partners have that special time to bond with their babies.
If the government is permitting COVID-positive people to go to work in certain circumstances, surely a COVID-negative father or partner can be there for the mother of their child.
The Minister is saying the bureaucracy knows better than him, but surely this is a time when leadership needs to be shown for these new families.