A TV show following pregnant couples in a maternity hospital has been described by campaigners as the final straw in their fight for partner access.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly says the Rotunda Hospital must explain why an RTÉ film crew was given access to film while partners were forced to wait outside.
A spokesperson for the hospital says minimal numbers of crew were on site, and any filming in delivery suites took place through cameras operated remotely.
Filming took place with minimal numbers of crew on site and strict infection prevention and control protocols were adhered to at all times.
— The Rotunda Hospital (@RotundaHospital) September 8, 2021
But Linda Kelly from Better Maternity Care, says the documentary was very upsetting for couples going through a pregnancy during the restrictions:
"Its the straw that broke the camel's back, people have been struggling to understand why, if 90% of the adult population is vaccinated, that these restrictions are still being put in place in maternity services."
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) September 9, 2021
Linda Kelly says the Health Minister's comments are not enough, saying he needs to bring an end to remaining restrictions on birthing partner access:
"Take some leadership. He [Minister Donnelly] announced in May that he would end all partner restrictions, and people want him to keep his word on that. So we're asking the minister to meet with us so we can put final solutions in place to make sure all partner restrictions are lifted."
Today the hospital under fire announced it would now extend visiting hours for partners.
In a statement it said:
"In response to this significant improvement in vaccination rates, effective Monday September 13, 2021, the Rotunda will now be able to extend visiting hours for partners to 08.00am to 08.00pm each day."
This brings the visiting hours back close to pre-pandemic rules.
The documentary series is not mentioned in the statement.