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Changes in Maternity Services at Milton Keynes Maternity Unit

Thank you for using the maternity services at Milton Keynes Maternity Unit. We would like to update you on the most recent changes we have made to our maternity services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and most recent government announcements.

The current COVID-19 pandemic means we are required to make difficult decisions relating to the service that we provide. We make these decisions based on our duty of care both to you as expectant parents and to the staff who work for our NHS services.

We ask, at the moment, that you continue to only have one designated person who will be your support person throughout your pregnancy and birth care. We ask that you do not swap this person with any other unless they become unwell themselves and so are unable to attend to support you. Should this person become unwell during your labour and birth and has to return home, an alternative person may attend.

This page explains in which settings one nominated person of a woman being cared for by our maternity teams can be with them, due to COVID-19.

As part of the easing of restrictions, we are now recommending the use of lateral flow testing twice a week for those who do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. The applies to women and their nominated support person attending:

- The Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

- All antenatal scans

- Antenatal appointments

- Labour and birth from the point of attendance at the hospital

Please note: If you and your support person both decline testing when admitted for labour and birth, your support person will not be allowed into any ward areas, including the antenatal and postnatal wards. Without knowing your COVID-19 status, we must ensure we continue to protect all others from transmission as best we can and, therefore, encourage everyone to take part in all testing on offer.

Care details and partner/support person attendance restrictions

In order to continue keeping everyone safe we ask the following:

If you wish to bring someone with you, we ask that it is the same person throughout your pregnancy journey, and confirm:

- they are free of any symptoms of COVID-19

- if they have had COVID-19, they must have completed their period of isolation

- that you have not been advised to self-isolate in the last 14 days when returning from travel abroad

We ask that you and your support person do a lateral flow antigen test 24 hours before your routine appointment and continue to complete these twice a week as recommended by NHS England. Your midwife or doctor will ask you to verbally confirm your test result on attendance at your appointment.

These tests are widely available from your local pharmacy, GP or asymptomatic testing centre or they can be ordered online in advance.

What types of test are being used?

The Innova SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Qualitative Test uses a swab which has been in contact with the nostril of the person being tested – this is what we use in hospitals.

The home testing is self-administered and will use a test that requires a nasal and a throat swab. The swab is then inserted into the extraction tube with the extraction fluid and then rotated and pressed to make sure that the sample from the swab is released into the extraction fluid (swab is then discarded at this point).

The person testing should then take the extraction tube with the nozzle cap and place two drops of extraction fluid into the sample well of the lateral flow device (LFD) testing device cartridge and wait for the result on the test device.

If you are unsure how to do a lateral flow test please watch this short video.

Testing and recording the test results

You and your support person should carry out the lateral flow test within 24 hours of attending your appointment.

When you have completed the test you must report the results online immediately. This will generate an email and a text message confirmation of the result.

You should bring proof of a recent negative test with you to each appointment.

If you and/or their support people who have access to lateral flow tests via a different route, e.g. employer or a school bubble, you should bring proof of the latest regular test.

Who are you reporting a result for?

If you have problems reporting the test results online, then please bring the test cartridge with you to the hospital appointment as proof of the negative COVID-19 test result.

Positive Lateral Flow Test

If your birth/support receives a positive rapid swab test result, they will need to:

- return home and self-isolate

- book a coronavirus test from a recognised site (via NHS 111)

If your birth supporter’s coronavirus test is negative, we will need to see the SMS or email that confirms the result. This can be the original message or a screenshot.

In the event of a positive coronavirus test, you and your partner should identify a back-up birth partner who can stay with you if their rapid swab test is negative.

Attending scans, Antenatal Clinic and Antenatal Day Assessment appointments at Milton Keynes University Hospital

Women can be accompanied by one nominated support person for all scans and antenatal appointments in Antenatal Clinic and Day Assessment Unit.

To attend the appointments and scans, you and your support person must have had a rapid COVID-19 test (also known as a lateral flow test) within 24 hours of your appointment. When you come for your appointment or scan you will need to provide proof of a negative rapid coronavirus test from the government test reporting system.

If your support person does not provide proof, we will unfortunately not be able to allow them into the department.

Please arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before your planned appointment time.

On arrival, you and your support partner must show their negative lateral flow test to the receptionist.