By Danielle Galvin
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has today moved to clarify visitor restrictions in maternity wards, after a huge groundswell of support.
Yesterday, it was announced in the daily COVID-19 press conference partners and support people would be required to leave two hours after the birth in hospital.
The move was met with angst and distress from expectant parents.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has confirmed today there was “confusion” over the wording of the legal direction.
“The directions state that a support person or partner as long as is required or desired – it is not limited at all,” he said.
“The [legal directions] haven’t been understood in a lay term to support the fact that someone can stay as required during labour and delivery.
“Absolutely I understand the distress.”
This morning, the government clarified, saying birth partners or support people will be allowed to stay following the birth.
⚠️ UPDATE ON NEW PARENT HOSPITAL VISITS ⚠️ Thanks to everyone who got in touch regarding this seeking some clarity, as…
Jodi that’s not what the legal direction says. The only thing that’s changed is a pregnant woman giving birth can now have one visitor when before it was 2. Her partner/support person can stay for as long as they wish during labour & birth & after the baby is born. 1/2
— Jenny Mikakos MP #StayHomeSaveLives (@JennyMikakos) July 23, 2020
In a statement last night, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) President Dr Vijay Roach warned it could have mental health impacts.
A petition calling for dads to be allowed to stay in hospitals post birth was circulated with thousands of signatures.