Princess Alexandra Hospital has limited visits to its maternity department to limit the spread of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

The hospital, which serves Harlow and Epping Forest, has updated its maternity guidance in response to the revised Government restrictions, referred to as Plan B.

Among other restrictions, only one nominated person will be allowed to accompany the pregnant person during labour, with visiting hours limited and antenatal appointments for the pregnant person only.

The hospital says this is to ensure that teams can provide high quality care while keeping women, pregnant people, babies, their families and its people safe.

The main information is:

• Only one nominated person can be with a woman/pregnant person during labour

• Visiting on the wards will be permitted from 1pm-5pm each day

• All antenatal appointments will be for the woman/pregnant person to attend only

• Both a woman/pregnant person and partner can attend scans. All must carry out a quick Covid-19 test (lateral flow test) before the visit

• Attendance at the Maternal and Fetal Assessment Unit (MFAU) will be for the woman/pregnant person only

• Any partners who are COVID-19 positive are not able to attend the hospital and must follow Government guidance on isolation

• Face masks must be worn for all appointments and within the hospital setting at all times, unless the person is exempt

• No children are able to attend any appointments either within the hospital or community setting

A woman, pregnant person, their partner or chosen support person will be asked to take a Covid-19 test (lateral flow test) before coming to the maternity department – the test result must be negative before entering.

All birthing partners must provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test. Unless this evidence is provided, admission to any of the wards cannot be permitted.

To access lateral flow test kits, visit the Government website. Once results are uploaded via the Government website, a text message will be sent with test results. This must be shown to one of the team on arrival at the department.

Lateral flow tests are voluntary, but for those who decline to have a test, support partners will only be allowed into the Labour Ward and Birthing Unit during labour.

Visiting guidance to the maternity department is as follows:

• All visitors must wash or sanitise their hands before and after visiting relatives

• Visitors must be over the over the age of 16 – children are not allowed

• Please do not enter the hospital if you feel unwell

• If you have a high temperature or new cough please return home and self-isolate

• Wear a fluid resistant face mask at all times – you may be asked to wear additional protective equipment if required

• There is no swapping of birthing partners/support people

• Remain on the ward during the visiting period, unless you need to use the toilet facilities

• Use toilets allocated for the public and visitors only – please keep your mask on during this time

• Please do not sit on the patient's bed

• Please do not visit any other patients that may be cared for at the hospital

• Visitors must not bring in food parcels, flowers, helium balloons or similar items

• Adhere to the allocated visiting time

• Be respectful to our teams at all times

More information is available at