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Keep up to date with the latest news, research and activity in patient safety

Distressed mother separated from breastfed baby for days during hospital stay

A new mother has spoken of her distress after wrongly-imposed Covid rules led to her being separated from her six-week-old baby for almost a week while she received treatment in hospital.

Charlotte Jones, 29, was taken to Princess Royal University hospital in Kent by ambulance last Wednesday, after complications following the birth of her son, Leo. When she arrived, she asked whether she would be able to see her baby, whom she is breastfeeding, while in hospital, but was told it would not be allowed because of the threat of coronavirus. She did not see him until her release six days later.

The restrictions as applied in Jones’s case, appear to contravene official guidance and go against the advice of NHS England, which specifies that mothers and babies should be kept together unless it is absolutely necessary to separate them. Separation at such a critical time can have an adverse impact on the physical and mental health of the mother, baby and wider family, say healthcare professionals and charities.

King’s College NHS foundation trust, which manages the hospital, has admitted that although it is limiting the number of visitors during the pandemic, there is no policy stopping babies to be brought in to be breastfed. The trust has pledged to ensure staff are aware of its policies.

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Source: The Guardian, 4 December 2020

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Child abuse carried out under guise of medical treatment, report finds

Healthcare practitioners who committed child sexual abuse commonly did so under the guise of medical treatment, which went unchallenged by other staff even when unnecessary or inappropriate because of their position of trust, research has found.

An independent inquiry into child sexual abuse report into abuse in healthcare settings between the 1960s and 2000s found that perpetrators were most commonly male GPs or healthcare practitioners with routine clinical access to children. As a result their behaviour was not questioned by colleagues, the children or their parents.

In many cases patients’ healthcare needs related to physical, psychological and sexual abuse they suffered at home. They spoke of attending health institutions seeking treatment, care and recovery, but were instead subjected to sexual abuse. This included fondling, exposing children to adult sexuality, and violations of privacy. More than half who shared their experiences described suffering sexual abuse by penetration.

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Source: The Guardian, 4 December 2020

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