VISITING restrictions currently in place for Bradford's maternity services can't be eased just yet due to the rising rate of infection in the city.

The issue was raised at the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's Annual General Meeting/Annual Members Meeting, which was streamed live on YouTube.

People could submit questions to be answered at the meeting, with one mum-to-be questioning why the rules could not be eased given the hospital is not overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients.

She asked: "I'm due to have my baby this month and feel the services provided with regards to partners attending scans, appointments and after birth wards is having an impact on mental health for a lot of families.

"I don't understand why, if my husband can be with me in active labour, wearing a mask, he can't be with me for the whole of my labour and come to after birth wards if he is wearing a mask, as we live together.

"Now most other hospitals in the area surrounding Bradford have now lifted restrictions on maternity services, allowing partners to scans and appointments and allowing at least a one-hour slot per day for partners so they can see the baby, if required to stay in hospital.

"Why has Bradford not lifted restrictions on visiting maternity services when the hospital is not overwhelmed with inpatients with Covid-19. When will Bradford Trust lift these restrictions on maternity services and visiting?"

Chief Karen Dawber said: "Visiting throughout this period of Covid has been extremely emotional and stressful for everybody.

"As a hospital, as a nurse, we want to make sure that people are involved with the care and that involves holistic care, which involves families to do that.

"All trusts in the West Yorkshire region have worked together since March in the rules around visiting and we wanted to make sure that we were balancing wellbeing of mums, which is the beautiful experience that is having a baby, with the safety of our staff and the babies and the mums involved.

"We took a very difficult decision in line with national guidance to actually stop visiting apart from, at the time of active labour with one birth partner. Unfortunately, as of today, those are still the rules, here at Bradford Teaching Hospitals. Some of the West Yorkshire trusts have moved away slightly from that, but have still not re-instigated visiting across the whole as was pre-Covid.

"We know that in Bradford, we are still an area of concern.We still, even though the hospital isn't seeing the levels of infection we were seeing a couple of months ago, we know that in our community, Covid is rising and continues to be significantly higher than other areas of the country. For that reason, we've not further lifted visiting arrangements for maternity. We do though monitor this on a weekly basis.

"We look at the infection rate within our community and we have a next stage of visiting to bring in when our infection rates as a city reduce. Please be assured we take this extremely seriously - it's a beautiful time in somebody's life when people have a baby and we want that to be special and we want people to spend time with their families."