Calls for More Investment in Bereavement Midwives

9 October 2018, 10:32 | Updated: 15 October 2018, 15:59

Bereavement Midwives

There are calls for more bereavement midwives to be employed in hospitals to improve care being given to parents after a miscarriage or the death of a baby.

Heart has figures that show just three hospital trusts in the region employ the equivalent to a full time bereavement midwife. The rest employ someone in the role on part-time hours.

Nationally, less than half of hospital trusts with maternity unit's (42.8%) employ the equivalent to at least one full time bereavement midwife.

The figures come at the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Hayley Martin's daughter Ava died in January at Hull Royal Infirmary. It was months later when she suffered a second miscarriage, that Hayley and her partner Scott saw a bereavement midwife.

Hayley said: “When Ava passed away the berevament midwife for this area was off sick. She is an amazing lady, she does amazing work. My issue is there isn't enough of them."

 

A spokeswoman for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“We would like to extend our deepest sympathies again to Mr and Mrs Martin and their family. While we cannot comment on individual patient cases, we can confirm the Martin family have yet to raise their concerns directly with our maternity service or our patient advice and liaison team to investigate.

“The Trust is one of only a handful in the country to have a dedicated bereavement midwife in post and there are plans in place to further extend this specialist cover.”

Charities 'plugging' gaps

One charity trying to improve care and support given to parents following a miscarriage or the death of a baby, is Charlie's Angels Centre in Leeds. Founded by Carrie Curtis and her family, following the death of her son Charlie, it offers bereavement counselling and other support.

Carrie said: "I lost my son and once we came out of hospital there was no support and we had to fight to get the support really, and we still get any. We found out a lot of other families have gone through the same thing.”

The charity has done its own research into bereavement care at hospitals. They surveyed 3500 people across the country. 45% described the care they received as 'bad'.

Carrie said: "We’ve campaigned so much and we have gone to so many meetings to get things to improve. I know it takes times and it can take years, but people are still going through things like that. It’s ridiculous really.”

The charity campaigned to get a specialist bereavement midwife in post in Leeds.

Carrie said: "We’ve campaigned so much and we have gone to so many meetings to get things to improve. I know it takes times and it can take years, but people are still going through things like that. It’s ridiculous really.”

They are now asking people to sign a petition calling for a co-ordinated package of aftercare for all families fowling the loss of a baby or child.

 

 

-->--> Bereavement Midwife Michelle Lynch has helped to develop an award winning support service at North Middlesex Hospital. She's been speaking to Heart about her role in supporting bereaved parents.