Impact of Baby Loss Awareness Week

Click on the ribbon to see our infographic

Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018 was the most successful so far, with more Remembrance and Wave of Light events, buildings illuminated pink and blue, ribbon displays, parliamentary activity, social media buzz, and coverage in the media than ever before.

Politicians from across the UK, including Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care; Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland; Will Quince MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss, and many others recorded video messages about their personal experiences of baby loss, and their support for Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Together we can break the silence and call for improvements in services, care and support for families affected by the death of a baby.

Update on impact since Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018

“Bereavement care training is mandatory in less than half of NHS Trusts and Health Boards. At the last count, one in three Trusts and Health Boards did not have a dedicated bereavement room in each maternity unit they cover.”

 

Bereavement care can and must get better and we believe we have the answer in the National Bereavement Care Pathway – read below about how this ground-breaking programme is being made publicly available for the first time.

In 2018 we came together to call on the public, healthcare professionals, and parliamentarians to make sure parents who experience pregnancy or baby loss get the best possible care, wherever they live, when they need it. The National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) provides the framework and tools to ensure that all health professionals are adequately equipped to provide excellent bereavement care. We campaigned for the NBCP to be embedded and rolled out across the NHS.

 

The final independent evaluation of the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) wave two pilot sites was published in May 2019 and provides evidence that the NBCP has:

 

  • Improved the bereavement care received by parents after the loss of a baby
  • Increased confidence and empowered staff to provide consistently good bereavement care
  • Enabled hospital teams and departments to work together to ensure consistency of care regardless of the nature, gestation or circumstance of the loss
  • Supported effective coordination and collaboration at a national level, enabling the project to succeed at a local level

 

Following publication of the evaluation the former Minister for Mental Health, Jackie Doyle-Price endorsed the rollout of the NBCP saying:

“Every stillbirth or baby loss is a tragedy and we remain absolutely committed to supporting parents through this difficult time. This independent evaluation shows that National Bereavement Care Pathway has already helped to strengthen the support for many bereaved families across the country, but there is more to do and I would urge all NHS Trusts to adopt this approach to ensure all care surrounding baby loss meets these consistent standards. Through our Long Term Plan for the NHS we are also accelerating action to halve the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths over the next five years and improving access to perinatal mental health care for mothers and their partners.”

Theresa May, followed up by urging all NHS Trusts to adopt the National Bereavement Care Pathway during Prime Minister’s Questions in Westminster on 15 May.

The NBCP is increasingly attracting interest from NHS Trusts across the country, with over 130 trusts in registering their interest. We are continuing to work with the CQC, NHS England and other partners to embed the NBCP and include reference to it within their frameworks and guidance.

In Scotland, pathway resources and materials are being finalised with five Early Adopter Sites identified and soon to go live. Conversations are ongoing in Wales and Northern Ireland. Still more to be done, committed to continuous improvement as we roll the NBCP out.

Making a difference for bereaved parents

Last Baby Loss Awareness Week, we asked everyone to stand up for parents who have experienced pregnancy or baby loss in your community by writing to the people responsible for making decisions about NHS services in your area. We want to see all families receive excellent bereavement care, when and where they need it.

Download the infographic here

What we called for during Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018?

Every year, thousands of people experience the loss of a baby in pregnancy, at or soon after birth, and in infancy.

The care that bereaved families receive from health and other professionals, following pregnancy loss or the death of their baby, can have long-lasting effects. Good care cannot remove parents’ pain and grief, but it can help them through this devastating time. In contrast, poor care can significantly add to their distress.

However, the standard of care in the UK varies between regions, and even within settings depending on at what stage a loss occurs – from early pregnancy through to infancy.

As a result many parents do not receive the good quality bereavement support they so desperately need after pregnancy or baby loss.

Our commitment is to come together to drive change and push for tangible improvements for those who have experienced death of pregnancy or baby loss. While there have been improvements in bereavement care for parents directly following the death of their baby, this now needs to extend to better support for their mental health in the months and years following this most tragic and traumatic of experiences.

 

Watch this space – our #BLAW2019 campaign will be announced shortly.

 

You can get involved today by helping us find stories and experiences that will help illustrate the above. For more information, get in touch with babyloss@sands.org.uk