RESTRICTIONS are being eased at Colchester Hospital’s maternity department.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, introduced measures to stop the risk of spreading coronavirus.

However, it was announced yesterday birthing partners will be able to visit at Colchester Hospital from Monday.

One birthing partner will be able to support women from the start of the induction of labour process and first day postnatal visits from a community midwife will be reintroduced.

A woman’s birthing partner will also be able to visit her for 45 minutes each day she is in hospital meaning they will no longer have to wait 48 hours before they can go in.

However, hospital chiefs are asking for only one visitor and said the visit must be booked in advance.

The ward clerk or healthcare professional looking after a woman on the ward will be able to arrange the visiting slot.

All appropriate personal protective equipment will be worn by staff and visitors must also wear a surgical face mask when they are on the wards.

However, some restrictions remain in place including only one partner may accompany a woman in labour and only one partner may attend with a woman for an elective Caesarean section.

This is so footfall can be safely managed and social distancing can be maintained in clinic rooms and treatment areas.

Director of Midwifery Anna Shasha said: “Part of our promise to women and their families was we would introduce changes in maternity services gradually and safely.

“We are really pleased we can further relax the visiting policy on our wards from Monday and that women will be able to have someone with them during the induction of labour process.

“We will monitor the changes we are making closely to keep women, their babies and our staff safe.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continue to do our best to protect women and their babies during the coronavirus outbreak.”