Baby loss is an issue I hold extremely close to my own heart as I lost my own son. This is why when I was first elected as a Member of Parliament, I helped set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss. The general debate that took place recently on Thursday 23 September was truly moving with colleagues from all sides of the House coming together to share their own tragic lived experiences. It was an example of how the Chamber can come together to demonstrate how these very personal issues help shape their commitment to public service.
There has been some real progress in introducing measures to support people impacted by baby loss, as we have seen the introduction of statutory Parental Bereavement Leave. The National Bereavement Care Pathway seeks to increase the quality of bereavement care provided by healthcare professionals following the loss of a baby. I am pleased that 65 per cent of NHS Trusts in England have so far signed up to the Pathway, including the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
This tragedy affects 1 in 4 pregnancies in the UK. For all those who are grieving a loss of a baby, know that you are not alone. Baby loss affects so many, including partners, their wider family and friends. Although there has been much progress during my time as an MP, there is still so much more to do in highlighting the huge impact of baby loss and its discourses for parents after their child’s passing. While restrictions have eased throughout this year, I know the impact and pressures of the pandemic are still being felt by families. This year’s theme, wellbeing, is so very important. It is right that the focus is to help those affected care for themselves and others. Some excellent resources and tips can be found here.
This evening, at 7pm, I will be taking part in the Global Wave of Light as Baby Loss Awareness Week comes to a close. I hope others will feel able to join me in lighting a candle to remember all those babies who have touched our lives, however briefly, and take comfort knowing they are not alone in their grief. I will continue to campaign on baby loss awareness and work closely with my Ministerial colleagues in the Department of Health and Social care to improve provisions for this cause.