Baby Loss Awareness Week

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:35 pm on 9th October 2018.

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Photo of Antoinette Sandbach Antoinette Sandbach Conservative, Eddisbury 6:35 pm, 9th October 2018

I certainly join the hon. Gentleman in praising his constituents’ work in memory of Tiger Lily. Let me also refer to the story of Fiona Crack and her daughter Willow. Fiona went to speak to the hon. Gentleman’s constituents, and there is a detailed account on the BBC’s website, highlighting the way in which they have turned a negative into a positive in commemorating the memory of Tiger Lily and the steps that they are taking to help other parents in their grief. I believe that they help with the memory boxes; I have a memory box at home, and I know how valuable that is.

I think that there has been a real uptick and a real positive story to tell this year, given the policy wins that have come from the Government. We know that we must address these challenges, but we have come a huge way in the last three years, and we have won important changes in policy.

Members may be wondering what they can do to drive the changes that we need. First and foremost, they can join me in encouraging the Minister to fully fund the national bereavement care pathway into 2019-20, so that it is embedded and becomes the national standard for best practice. I hope that the Minister will have something to say about that when he winds up the debate. Secondly, Members on both sides of the House can engage with their local charities who help those who have lost a child, as, indeed, many of their constituents have. I know that many Members are present because of the work that their constituents have done, or because of their own experiences.

Members can also help to promote the national bereavement care pathway in their constituencies. We have seen from the pilot that it works, but political support and public awareness are crucial to ensuring that it is embedded throughout the UK. If Members leave this debate with one thing in their minds, let it be the testimony of a grieving parent who experienced the pathway:

“I was shocked at the level of care. I thought ‘this is the NHS, why are they making such an effort for me?’
I didn’t know care like this existed and I was blown away by it—my expectations were exceeded in every way”.

We have all benefited from amazing care from our NHS, but sometimes it does not have all the tools that it needs. The national bereavement care pathway gives it the tools that it needs to deal with this very difficult issue, and we must work to ensure that it is put in place throughout the country.