Mothers have slammed TV presenter Stacey Dooley for being ‘free to roam’ in a maternity ward for her latest documentary while fathers were banned at the height of the lockdown.
The star was seen meeting with mothers in Bradford on last night’s BBC Panorama programme, Stacey Dooley and the Lockdown Babies.
The show investigated how the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way families deal with pregnancy, with almost a quarter of a million babies born in the UK since the lockdown began.
However, many viewers were left angry at the level of access granted, with fathers and partners having been told to stay away as part of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in hospitals.
One wrote: ‘Lol what a joke Stacey Dooley and a whole film crew can go into maternity wards but fathers of the babies can’t. I’ll have to attend every scan and appointment alone but come on in bbc film crew!’
A second replied: ‘Gave birth 8 weeks ago, partner was told to leave an hour after I gave birth! I had my own room too & didn’t see him again for 3 days as they kept us in over a health issue with my baby. My other kids didn’t see her for 3 days. Angry doesn’t cover it.’
Another added: ‘How infuriating for any pregnant women or any women who’ve gave birth during this pandemic who’ve suffered huge consequences to our maternity care have to sit and watch Stacey Dooley and a bbc camera crew have free roam and attend antenatal apps when your partner can’t.’
It is not the first coronavirus documentary to face a backlash, either, after viewers were left fuming that Ross Kemp was allowed into a Covid ward at the beginning of lockdown, despite many of the patients’ families not being permitted to visit.
Other viewers rushed to defend Dooley, with one describing her as a ‘national treasure’ in recognition of her work on hard-hitting topics.
Another questioned: ‘Didn’t Ross Kemp do similar at the start of the pandemic, going into covid wards? Didn’t see the same level of anger for him as there is against Stacey Dooley’.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘At a time when many pregnant women are anxious about going into hospital for birth and important ante-natal check-ups, this Panorama gave viewers an insight into how Covid-19 has transformed the way mothers, midwives and doctors deal with pregnancy and birth.
‘Bradford Royal Infirmary gave a small team special access to their maternity unit and all filming was done safely and with the upmost respect and sensitivity.’