RCM and RCOG urge NHS England to publish guidance on partners during pregnancy

By Gemma Murphy on 08 September 2020 Midwifery NHS covid-19 Covid-19 Pregnancy Midwives Expectant Mothers RCM RCOG - Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists RCOG NHS England Maternity Services Antenatal / Prenatal Postnatal Care

Today two leading Royal Colleges have called the delay by NHS England in publishing guidance on partners attending births, scans and other ante- and postnatal appointments as ‘unacceptable’. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) say this is not only causing confusion, but undue stress for pregnant women and their families.

Commenting, RCM CEO Gill Walton said:

“It’s completely unacceptable that NHS England has been dragging its feet and delaying the publication of this guidance. The RCM and RCOG worked together to support NHS England to complete draft guidance in early August, yet here we are, over a month on with still no publication. Not only is this causing distress to pregnant women and their families, it is also impacting on our members, some of whom have faced abuse from visitors unable to attend appointments. We recognise that there is the need to vary local rules depending on circumstances, such as staffing levels and locally-imposed restrictions due to rising levels of COVID, but we urge NHS England to stop the delay and publish the guidance for all concerned.”

The Colleges say not having guidance that is transparent and available to all is causing inequity across services, with some fully open and others keeping the same restrictions that were in place during the height of the pandemic

Dr Edward Morris, President of the RCOG, said:

“The RCOG and RCM, in consultation with NHSE/I and the Society and College of Radiographers, have produced a framework to support Trusts in England to safely re-introduce measures enabling partners to attend to antenatal and postnatal appointments, including pregnancy scans.
“We are extremely grateful for those at NHSE/I who have worked with us thus far to produce the framework and who are working hard to put it out into the public domain. Nevertheless, we are extremely frustrated that this framework has still not been published by NHSE/I as the ongoing delay is causing unacceptable harm to the wellbeing of pregnant women and their partners.

“Guidance on visitors to maternity services has previously been published by governments in the devolved nations. Some Trusts in England have permitted partners to attend antenatal appointments and pregnancy scans. However, a consistent approach across the country is required to bring an end to the frustration and confusion among pregnant women and their partners”.


To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected].

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the speciality and service provision. https://www.rcog.org.uk/