Baby Loss Awareness Week

Part of Business of the House (Prorogation) – in the House of Commons at 4:46 pm on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 4:46 pm, 8th October 2019

Yes. That guidance is there. My heart goes out to the hon. Lady’s constituent. If she wants to get in touch with us about any lack of access to care and support, we will almost certainly be able to help and look into it for her.

Bereaved parents need time to grieve. I take this opportunity to congratulate my hon. Friend Kevin Hollinrake—I do not think he is present—who last year had a fantastic private Member’s Bill. As a result, from 2020 the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 will give all employed parents a day-one right to two weeks’ leave if they lose a child who is under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Finally, the NHS commits in the long-term plan to improve access to and the quality of perinatal mental healthcare for mothers, their partners and children, by increasing access to evidence-based care for women with moderate to severe perinatal mental health difficulties and personality disorder diagnosis. We also want to increase access to evidence-based psychological support and therapy, including digital options in a maternity setting; the development of maternity outreach clinics, as I have already mentioned, that will integrate maternity and reproductive health; and psychological therapy for women experiencing mental health difficulties directly arising from or related to their maternity experience.

In conclusion, the Government and NHS are fully committed to reducing the number of babies who die during pregnancy or in the neonatal period, and to providing that absolutely fundamental and much-needed support for bereaved families.