QUEEN Alexandra Hospital has defended its decision to ban under-16s from all ultrasound scans.
The Portsmouth hospital will be enforcing the new policy, which will also see only one additional adult allowed to attend, from April 1.
QA has decided to make the changes to ensure sonographers, and clinicians carrying out the scans, can look for signs of anomalies and check both the baby and mum are healthy.
The decision was made following a case elsewhere in the country where distractions in the room saw the sonogorapher miss a serious life-changing abnormality.
Jasmine Gallagher, a sonographer at QA Hospital, said: ‘We are being proactive to stop what happened in another hospital happening here.
‘This is about the safety of the patient and ensuring we can do our jobs effectively.
‘The scans are not about getting a picture of the baby or finding out the gender.
‘We use them to check for a heartbeat, a range of abnormalities and the general health of the baby and mum.
‘Anything we find could dictate the rest of the pregnancy, labour and any treatment when the baby is born.’
Last year, QA Hospital stopped children under the age of 16 being allowed to attend the 20-week anomaly scan. From April, this will be extended to all ultrasound scans.
If someone turns up with a child, they will have to re-schedule their appointment or, if another adult is present, they will have to sit outside with the child.
Vanita Suthar-Grady, a sonographer, said: ‘We do around 18 to 20 scans a day and we need to be able to fully concentrate and make sure we are doing all the necessary observations.
‘Also occasionally parents might be getting complicated or sad news, and they need time to process that without lots of distractions.
‘There are other times we might have to do an internal examination, which can be difficult if a child is around.’