Did you see Cheshire MP Antoinette Sandbach addressing Parliament this week? Speaking with tears rolling down her face she recounted the death of her 5 day old son and the lack of support available at this traumatic time.
Antoinette and MP Will Quince have opened a debate in parliament requesting the need for Bereavement care services in all Maternity Units. Having both suffered the loss of a child they spoke of their experience.
I had an opportunity to read a copy of the debate, Antoinette and Will spoke emotionality to the House of Commons, both having had very different experiences at their time of need.
Will and his wife were cared for by Colchester General Hospital in their dedicated Rosemary Suite, it is heartbreaking to read his account of events, of them knowing their son would be stillborn and praising the sensitivity and care given by Colchester Hospital. Having gone through this experience Will assumed every Maternity Unit had a bereavement suite, he was shocked to discover this was not true, and in fact in some cases the treatment of parents had been traumatic.
In Antoinette’s case there was no support and only a chance leaflet led to her receiving counselling from The Alder Centre, they say:
“It is important to slow down the decision making, to give parents the space in which to make informed decisions, it is vital to have that talking support with someone who can say to you it is alright, take your time.”
Antoinette cannot praise them enough for their care and support, but this service should be available in every Maternity Unit at time of need.
Fifteen babies die a day, and there are five deaths a week due to sudden infant death syndrome. That figure has been the same for the past 20 years.
Bliss outlines that 41% of neonatal units nationally say that parents have no access to a trained medical health worker, with 30% of neonatal units saying that parents have no access to any psychological support at all.
As the Government made a commitment to put Mental Health Services on an equal footing to physical health MP’s Antoinette and Will urge the Health Minister to follow The British Association of Perinatal Medicine advice that psychological support is available for parents who suffer a perinatal, stillbirth or infant death.
They have opened the debate, let’s see what happens.
If you’ve been affected by infant death you can find support here
Sands Lullaby Trust Tommy’s