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Never ever doubt the strength of sharing your story, using your voice. There are some very powerful conversations going on around the country at the moment – which are changing the care for those who will walk this sad journey in the future.
This week I (Mel) am off to Bristol on Monday to support a stillbirth research project. This is a focus group of grieving parents, who will be able to discuss the support received after loss, and uniquely it is also interested in the views of parents who lost some time ago.
And on Tuesday I am off to add my voice and experiences to a department of health bereavement care review – which focuses on parental experiences before 24 weeks. We are pleased to welcome Sam Collinge to tell us all about the review.

Firstly, I’d like to introduce myself  – My name is Sam Collinge  – some of you may know of me as a I have been a Bereavement Support Specialist Midwife and campaigner for improvements in perinatal bereavement care for over 20 years

I’ve recently been invited by The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to co-chair the Department of Health’s (DOH)“Pregnancy Loss Review”

My co-chair is Zoe Clark-Coates, the CEO of the charity “Saying Goodbye”

Alongside my current position as Maternity Bereavement Service Manager at University Hospitals, Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust – I am seconded one day a week for 6 months to the DOH in order to conduct the review

I’m delighted and honoured to have been appointed and I am excited to be part of such an important project that has the potential to make a huge difference to so many women and their partners experiencing baby loss

The first few weeks have been busy however , Zoe and I have an excellent team from the DOH supporting us

I am married with 2 children, and live in lovely  Stratford Upon Avon in Warwickshire

I have recently started running in my spare time  – as I’m told by fellow runners that it’s a good way to de-stress and that it becomes addictive – I’m still waiting !!!

The Pregnancy Loss Review

The Department of Health and Social Care are to produce a report on ‘Pregnancy Loss – Care and Support when Baby Loss Occurs Before 24 Weeks Gestation’ which will focus on the following three themes:

  • The impact on families of the current threshold of 24 weeks gestation before being able, formally, to register a miscarriage if they so wish.

 

  • Whether it would, on balance, be beneficial to look at legislative and non-legislative options to allow parents to register a miscarriage if they so wish.

 

  • Options to improve NHS gynaecology and maternity care practice for parents who experience a miscarriage and other causes of baby loss.

The report will not consider changing the existing laws on abortion or lowering the legal age of viability

However, recommendations for improving care and support for those experiencing a pre-24 week gestation baby loss may be relevant to women and families who choose to terminate a much wanted pregnancy, for example due to congenital anomalies.

Terms of Reference for the Review are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/pregnancy-loss-review-group.

Although the registration and certification considerations are an important  part of the review, the wider issues around the inequalities in care provision that exist for parents experiencing pre 24 week loss also need to be addressed

The objective of the review is to make recommendations to government to ensure parents receive the best possible care – care that is not dependent on gestation or place of delivery

We also aim to equip professionals with the skills and confidence they need to provide families with the care and support that they deserve

Zoe and I have invited experts from the Royal Colleges, Baby Loss Charities, Register office and other stakeholders to join our core advisory panel to help us to shape the review

Crucially,we have invited parents who have had lived experience onto the advisory panel

For both Zoe and I –hearing the voices of bereaved parents is the most important element of the review and we are holding 4 parent stakeholder workshops in Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester and London to inform the review

So far we have been humbled by the courage of parents willing to share their experiences – sadly we have heard both good and bad examples of care and one of the aims of the review is to address  the “post code lottery’ that exists

We are aiming to have a report with recommendations to submit to Government by autumn 2018

Get in touch

Please feel free to get in touch with me.  If you have any experiences, ideas or information you would like to share to help shape the review – I’d love to hear from you.

My email address is samcollinge1965@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for your interest in this important project,

Sam