I think it is shocking. Miscarriage is one of the silent subjects. Other Members will probably speak about it, or will have had their own experiences.
The second key principle involves commissioning. We know that the knowledge and learning are out there. There are some inspirational NHS trusts, consultants, midwives and chaplains who have established best practice in hospitals. Greater Manchester, Lancashire and South Cumbria Strategic Clinical Networks has developed a stillbirth-specific integrated pathway. Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has introduced butterfly signs on maternity room doors to alert staff when parents have lost a baby, and has adapted its literature to ensure that they receive relevant information and advice. Abigail’s Footsteps offers equipment such as cold cots to hospitals.
The work that is being done by many charities and dedicated healthcare professionals needs to be shared within the NHS to address gaps in the service when parents are effectively left to fend for themselves. That means that there needs to be better and more effective training for healthcare professionals. It is really not acceptable that such limited pre-qualification bereavement training—sometimes as little as an hour—is given to midwives, given the current stillbirth rates. There needs to be better pre-qualification training for them and also for sonographers and GPs, given the statistics.
There are a number of inspirational examples of good practice in the country, and this weekend they are being celebrated at the Butterfly Awards ceremony in Worcester. If Members have examples of good practice in their constituencies, they should consider nominating them for next year’s Butterfly Awards, so that we can increase their prominence.