Parliamentary debate on Maternity Unit bereavement care

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


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  • Oh how awful – I simply cannot bear to think how much these parents have suffered. Those figures of 15 babies dying a day are staggering and we must be doing more to help the professionals know how to handle these families.

  • This is very sad. I can’t imagine how upsetting and distressing this must be. I hope that there is better care put in place soon xxxx

  • I will never forget while in hospital waiting to give birth to my first baby, I was in a ward with eight other mums, some like me waiting to give birth, some with their babies in cots next to them. I struck up a conversation with the lady in the bed next to me as she was my age and obviously waiting to give birth. I can still remwmber the total shock when she told me she was waiting to give birth the next day to what she knew would be a still born baby. How could anyone possibly think it was right to put rhe poor woman in that ward with all those new babies. This was 21 years ago now, and I had hope that the hospital has improved its service to parents in that situation a hell of a lot since then, but obviously that is not the case x

    • How sad for both of you, and you’ve remembered all these years. I think this is going to be on TV next week, hoping to provide a service at all hospitals. Thanks for adding this comment. x

  • This is such an important subject. i’ve not been affected it directly, but my sister and her husband lost an infant and the impact on them was devastating. I’m really pleased to see both a male and female MP have joined forces on this debate. Mental health / berevament services MUST be in place for both parents. When they are in place, they often focus on the mother’s needs and it’s important to rememeber both mum and dad need support. Found my way here via #post40bloggers

  • It was heart breaking watching her on the news the other evening. I cannot imagine going through something so incredibly painful, and its so important that every single person is given the right support xx