"Maternity - men allowed to stay on all women's..."

About: St Helier Hospital

Having had a c section I was placed on the post natal ward in the early evening. To my horror the lady in the cubical next to me had 'special permission' to allow her partner to stay in her cubical overnight. The only thing separating her bed and my bed was a flimsy curtain. This made feel very vulnerable as I was with my new born child and unable to walk. Why was this man granted special permission to stay next to me as a guest? No one knew his background. He could be a rapist, child abuser, psychopath, wife beater.....

Once I was aware of what was going on I objected as I was concerned about the safety issue. I was made to feel like a nuisance by the staff. I was advised that they would need to phone the ward manager to speak to her about the situation and in the mean time the man was allowed to stay in the cubical next to me. The ward was mostly unattended by the staff and it was getting in to the late evening. Eventually I was advised that the man would be sent home (only because I objected to him staying) but he was allowed to stay until gone 10.30pm - this is way past permitted visiting hours. All I could hear was this mans conversation with his partner so I was unable to rest or sleep until this chap left - not a good situation to be considering I was already exhausted.

Men should not be granted 'special permission' to stay overnight on a ward with women who have just given birth. If a woman needs her partner to stay they should be placed in one one of the separate rooms. Allowing men to stay overnight on an all women's ward is asking for trouble - who will be held responsible when something goes wrong?

Story from NHS Choices

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