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Antenatal ultrasound Covid-19 restrictions (FOI)

Antenatal ultrasound Covid-19 restrictions (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 23 February 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.


Currently partners are unable to attend antenatal ultrasound scans as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. I understand that live audio / video calls to partners are not permitted during antenatal ultrasound scans for legal reasons.

Please provide the documentation that outlines these legal reasons.


The British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS) and The Society of Radiographers guidance and advice were utilised when determining the course of action taken in Jersey, as will have been the case in most UK locations. They do not advocate use of virtual attendance by partners with on-line video calls such as ‘Face Time’ or the filming of the examination due to the potential to distract the sonographer during the scan and confidentiality issues. At a time when guidance is recommending completing the examination as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of spreading the virus and rationing of scans may be required, it is important to explain to patients the nature of the examination and the impact the additional video / phone recordings would have on the scan time, sonographer concentration and the potential risk of missing abnormalities.

Some / all of the points below should be noted:

  • first and foremost, a scan is a clinical examination. The sonographers fully appreciate the bonding that parents develop during ultrasound imaging but the clinical aspect of the examination is our priority in these difficult times. Sonographers should not be distracted in any way

  • being distracted significantly increases the risk of a loss of concentration by the sonographer and a subsequent misdiagnosis including those of fetal abnormality. Being filmed in any context is distracting.

  • patients undergoing antenatal scans are required to lay in a neutral positions to be able to obtain diagnostic imaging. Various positions have been trialled that patients would need to be in to be able to film the scan / themselves and it is apparent this causes undue twisting and tensing of the abdominal muscles making the scan near impossible

  • confidential information is held on the scan machine screen and within the scan room and the inadvertent sharing of this cannot be mitigated against if filming is allowed

  • during the pandemic, international advice is to reduce the number of people and equipment within two meters of the ultrasound machine, to limit the chance of virus contamination to you and your baby or other parents and staff, so we are unable to have phones or cameras in this space.

We are further guided by the following:

The SCoR, RCOG, RCM and BMUS recognise that regional and local variations will be in place, as staffing levels allow and the pandemic develops, but support locally agreed policies such as an offer to save a short 10-30 second cine clip of the fetus to PACS at the end of selected examinations and allowing the woman to record this on their mobile phone to share with family after the examination, if facilities for this allow.

Obstetric ultrasound examinations during the covid-19 pandemic

Whilst there is no legal position we make our decision based on specialist college and society recommendations for the safety and care of our immediate patients.

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