Baby loss certificates introduced in UK for babies less than 24 weeks thanks to campaigners

From today, bereaved parents who lose a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy in the UK can now receive a certificate in recognition of their loss from www.gov.uk.

This vital step towards improving bereavement care in the UK is a step in the right direction in recognising the loss of life and parents grief. The UK government is allocating a £25 million investment over the next 2 years that will accelerate the development of new women’s health hubs to benefit women across England and help to ease pressures facing the NHS.

Campaigners said they were “thrilled” that millions of families would finally get the formal acknowledgement of their loss.

All parents who have experienced baby loss since September 2018 can apply.

In Wales, there are plans to deliver a similar scheme. A memorial book where people can record their pre-24 week losses is already up and running in Scotland.

Babies who are born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy are called stillbirths, and their deaths are officially registered. But this does not happen for babies who die before that stage.

Pregnancy loss or miscarriage before 24 weeks is the most common complication of pregnancy, experienced by an estimated one in five women in the UK. Source: bbc.co.uk

Zoe Clark-Coates MBE BCAh, Founder and CEO The Mariposa Trust, Co-chair and author of The Pregnancy Loss Review said: 

Over the past 5-years, it has been my honour to co-chair and write the Pregnancy Loss Review on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health. The 73 recommendations that Sam and I submitted within the review offer a real opportunity to revolutionise baby loss care in England.  

My passion and long-term commitment is to help all bereaved families, and by the implementation of these recommendations, I believe we will make great strides in addressing the disparities in the care, support, education, and training that currently exist. One of those pivotal recommendations was for the introduction of a new certificate of loss, which The Mariposa Trust (sayinggoodbye.org) has tirelessly campaigned for over the past 9 years. I’m thrilled that from today millions of families will finally get the formal acknowledgment that their baby existed and I hope this will help their grieving process.  

I would like to thank Dame Floella Benjamin for working with us to make this happen and the government for their commitment to bereaved families. My focus will now turn to the other 72 recommendations to ensure their successful implementation.

Source: www.gov.uk

Samantha Collinge, Bereavement Lead Midwife, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and co-chair of the Pregnancy Loss Review said: 

Today marks a milestone moment for not just Zoe and myself, the co-chairs and co-authors of the ‘Independent Pregnancy Loss Review’ but for the millions of people who have experienced pre-24 weeks baby loss. 

Since I was appointed as a bereavement midwife in 1998 I have campaigned for a standardised care pathway that ensures that every parent experiencing baby loss (regardless of the gestation or type of loss ) receives the physical and emotional care and support they deserve.  

The Pregnancy Loss Review with its 73 recommendations for improving care offers a real opportunity to change the landscape of pre-24 week loss and I feel enormously privileged to have co-led this piece of work. 

Miscarriage and other types of pre 24 weeks baby loss is often minimised and treated as a “clinical event “ or “just one of those things” rather than the loss of a baby and sadly the emotional impact of the loss is often disregarded. 

Zoe and I hope that the introduction of a national certificate of baby loss will give bereaved parents the official recognition that their babies did exist and that their babies lives, however brief really do matter.

Source: www.gov.uk

The baby loss certificate is certainly a step in the right direction, but there is so much more that can be done to improve bereavement care for families. It’s our mission to help raise awareness of the support available and improve bereavement care for grieving families.

Visit our clinically led bereavement care training page for healthcare professionals at: cuddlecot.com/training

If you, or someone you know would benefit from talking to a qualified bereavement counsellor, they can for free via our website: cuddlecot.com/grieving

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