Pregnant women are to be asked to take a Covid lateral flow test 24 hours before their outpatient, community and hospital scan appointments, and show their results when booking in at University Hospitals Dorset.
This is to be introduced from Tuesday 4 May.
Both the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Poole’s St Mary’s Maternity Hospital already require support partners to take a Covid lateral flow test before accompanying women to their appointment, a move that has enabled the maternity departments to relax the restrictions around visiting and support people.
The guidance is different for women in labour, and in an emergency.
Lorraine Tonge, director of midwifery at University Hospitals Dorset, said: “By taking these tests before an appointment, women and their support partners are helping us to keep our hospitals safe for other women, their families and our staff. It also means we can provide safe and personalised maternity care and enable support partners to attend maternity appointments, which we know makes a huge difference.
“We’re very keen to stress however, that while we are asking women to do these tests before they arrive, their safety is our priority and we will always see them for their appointment.
“Anyone needing to attend in an emergency should also continue to do so without delay. We will make alternative arrangements for lateral flow tests, where appropriate, when you get here.”
The free tests can be booked at maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk and evidence of the test result can be shown via the confirmation text message received when having a test done at an external site, via the test received when uploading your own results or via an image on your phone.
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