Expectant mums and their partners will be tested offered at rapid Covid test when attending appointments at Colchester and Clacton hospitals.

From today (February 17) pregnant people and their support person will be asked if they would like to be tested.

The East Suffolk and North Essex Trust has introduced the tests in line with new national NHS guidance.

Tests will be available for people in the following situations:

  • 12 week ultrasound scans
  • 20 week ultrasound scans
  • Accompanying someone in labour
  • Fetal medicine appointments
  • Visits to the neonatal unit

Giles Thorpe, chief nurse for the trust, said: “We know some people infected with coronavirus can display no symptoms, known as being asymptomatic.

"But they can still pass the virus on to others.

“By introducing this rapid testing method, called lateral flow testing, we will be able to identify asymptomatic cases, which will reduce the spread of coronavirus in our hospitals.

“Pregnant people and their support partners do not have to be tested, but we are asking for everyone’s help to make this process work so we can keep everyone in our care, and our staff, as safe as possible.”

All expectant parents who are due in for scan appointments will be contacted by a member of the team to let them know about the testing process.

Those wanting to take the test will need to arrive one hour before their scheduled appointment time.

The test takes a few minutes to carry out and the result is available within 30 to 45 minutes.

Those tested will be asked to leave the maternity unit until they are called with their test result.