Last night the government announced further measures to control the spread of coronavirus. You can read about the guidance which is in effect from 23rd March 2020 here
British citizens may only leave their homes for one of four reasons. Attending healthcare is among these. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has advised that pregnant women should continue to attend their antenatal care including scans. You can read more about the RCOG’s information for pregnant women and their families here. We recognise that NHS hospitals are having to prioritise their use of resources so access to ultrasound scans will become more limited. We are also aware that one consequence of a pandemic can be that other health issues become more problematic because of the diversion of healthcare away from them. We wish to support the NHS and our clients by acting as overflow for those who cannot get the care they need at this time, for as long as it is safe for us to do so. We worry about women presenting late with problems that have not been identified sooner due to reduced access to healthcare. In many cases this does not change the outcome but occasionally earlier detection may have been important.
Because of this we remain open, but we advise you to only come for a scan or test if it is a needed part of your medical care and essential for your health and wellbeing. Examples of this would be:
1. A reason to worry in early pregnancy such as:
- Pain or bleeding or loss of pregnancy symptoms
- Increased risk of miscarriage due to age or other factors (where mental health is being adversely affected)
- Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy e.g. previous ectopic pregnancy or known fallopian tube problems
2. Antenatal screening for Down’s syndrome (Harmony test)
3. A Second trimester scan when:
- You’ve had a previous late miscarriage or complex obstetric history
- You’ve had pain or bleeding or another reason to be worried
- You’ve had a reason to worry that the baby may be unwell
- You’re at higher than normal risk of having a baby with anatomical problems (anomalies)
4. A Third trimester scan when:
- There are concerns about your baby’s growth*
- You are in a higher risk group for problems with your baby’s growth
- Your placenta was low at a previous scan and you need to have this checked but are unable to obtain an NHS scan at the right time
- There are concerns your baby is breech (bottom down)
5. An urgent gynaecology ultrasound scan
*reduced fetal movements, pain, ruptured membranes or bleeding after 24 weeks is an emergency and should not be seen at Somerset Early Scans where we do not have access to emergency obstetric care
If you are in an extremely vulnerable group, at high risk of severe covid-19 infection, please do not book an appointment with us. You should take advice from your NHS team with regards to which of your face to face antenatal appointments are essential, and which can be conducted by telephone. This includes those who are pregnant AND have other health problems that make them extremely vulnerable, such as those with severe asthma or significant heart disease. Equally if you have a household member who is in an extremely vulnerable group we advise you to limit your attendances at appointments to only those strictly necessary. You can read more about this here.
The Association of Early Pregnancy Units has released a statement which highlights that some NHS early pregnancy units may not be able to offer active miscarriage management should you be found at your scan to have a non-viable pregnancy. Please be aware of this when booking a private early pregnancy scan.
We are now closed to bookings for 4D and gender scans, which do not have a medical need.
In taking the decision to remain open we have also reviewed guidance from the Royal College of General Practitioners, and NHS England. The RCGP have advised that business as usual must be supported to continue but workload will need to be prioritised. Routine community services should continue if at all possible, but with a prioritisation of resources.
We are now restricting guests to 1 partner or support person only, and children should not be brought to your appointment unless you are unable to obtain childcare for them. We will be contacting you prior to your appointment to check that no-one coming has had cough or fever within the last 7 days and nor has any of their household within the last 14 days. Please do not bring anyone with you who has significant health problems or is elderly and could be put at risk.
Our Coronavirus policy we are reviewing daily, and is subject to change at any time.