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UMHL to open 8am-9pm access for nominated support partners from next Tuesday October 26th


UL Hospitals Group is pleased to announce 8am-9pm access for nominated support partners of inpatients at University Maternity Hospital Limerick from next week, in the latest relaxation of the access restrictions that have been in place at the hospital since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new measures, being enacted at UMHL with effect from next Tuesday morning, October 26th, is in line with the guidance of the Health Protection Surveillance Committee (HPSC), which was updated on October 21st for implementation on November 1st, and is available for download here,

With effect from Tuesday morning, nominated support partners will be able to access all three inpatient wards at the hospital, from 8am to 9pm daily.

In the interests of the safety of staff, service users and their support partners, these and all access measures at the hospital continue to be reviewed and risk-assessed in the light of the COVID-19 transmission rate in communities locally, the number of staff in the hospital and the possibility of those healthcare workers becoming unwell, and the infrastructure of the hospital site.

This is the latest, and most significant, of a series of measures that have been taken since April of this year, to gradually ease the pandemic restrictions on access to nominated support partners of women in UMHL.

Eileen Ronan, Director of Midwifery for UL Hospitals Group, said she was pleased to be able to announce a significant opening of access for nominated support partners following such a protracted period of anxiety and inconvenience for service-users, inpatients and their loved ones.

“Primarily due to the physical infrastructure of University Maternity Hospital Limerick, and the high transmission of COVID-19 in the local community, it has been necessary to take a very gradual approach to facilitating access for nominated support partners of our inpatients and service users. We have always sought to achieve a balance between the need for support partners to be present and support pregnant women, while also prioritising the safety, welfare and privacy of all women and infants in our care, and our staff,” Ms Ronan said.

“This has been a very difficult time, and I’m very pleased that we are now in a position to provide 8am-9pm access for nominated support partners. We will have to continue with temperature monitoring and COVID-19 questionnaires at the entrance to the hospital, and we hope that people will continue to cooperate with these steps which remain in place to keep the hospital a safe space for all patients, service users and their loved ones,” she continued.

Eileen Ronan, Director of Midwifery, UMHL - Partner Access (soundcloud)

Ms Ronan also urged inpatients, and pregnant women attending the hospital for antenatal appointments, who are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19, to enquire about how to get a vaccine at the Satellite COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in the hospital’s antenatal department. All information is available from the maternity hospital's dedicated consultation helpline for service users, at 087-3593568, Monday-Friday, 9am-2.30pm.

These new access measures means that from next Tuesday UMHL will be permitting nominated support partners to access the following areas, regardless of vaccination status, once the COVID-19 questionnaire and temperature screening has been completed at the hospital reception.

  • Labour Ward: throughout labour and delivery
  • Elective and Emergency C-Section
  • Antenatal Ward M3: 8am-9pm daily
  • Postnatal Wards M1&M2: 8am-9pm daily
  • NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) / HDU (High Dependency Unit): designated time slots
  • EPAU ( Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit)
  • Emergency high risk admissions
  • 12-Week scan
  • Anomaly scan
  • Compassionate grounds

UL Hospitals Group will continue to strive for a balance between the competing requirements for partners to be present and supporting pregnant women, while giving priority to the safety, welfare and privacy of all women and infants in our care, and our staff. While these access restrictions have been difficult, they have been necessary, and effective. We are grateful for the cooperation of our patients and their families and the wider community.