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Local MP visits Watford General during Baby Loss Awareness Week

Posted: 18 October 2016
Kate Ewer, Communications and Engagement Manager

Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, visited maternity staff at Watford General Hospital during Baby Loss Awareness Week to learn how the hospital has improved bereavement support for families who experience baby loss.

Picture of Richard McBarnet, co-chair of West Herts and Bucks Sands; Dr Gloria Rowland, associate director for midwifery and gynaecology nursing; Kate Flack, lead bereavement midwife; and Richard Harrington, Local MP for Watford

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust has developed its maternity bereavement services and improved the provision of care, with the support of the local stillbirth and neonatal death charity (Sands).

The Trust appointed a specialist bereavement midwife this July, in addition to recruiting more than 20 midwives over the summer. Women who have experienced baby loss from 12 weeks’ pregnancy onwards receive continuous care and support from the bereavement midwife. The midwife keeps in close contact, referring women to counselling support services in the Trust, helping the family to make memories, and providing follow up support.

Kate Flack, lead bereavement midwife, said: "Baby loss is the last taboo in society. We talk about everything else, but people just don’t know what to say to someone who has lost a baby. This is why Baby Loss Awareness Week is so important. It’s really done a lot over the past few years for helping to raise public awareness of the issue."

Dr Gloria Rowland, associate director for midwifery and gynaecology nursing, said: "We’re grateful for Richard’s visit today so he can see how far we’ve come. We’ve been on an amazing journey at Watford this year and have really turned the service around. I’m looking forward to continuing to improve the experience of women here, especially those women who have experienced loss at any stage of their pregnancy."

Support for bereavement care has also come from West Herts and Bucks Sands who have worked closely with the maternity team at Watford. The charity arranged bereavement care training for nearly 90 midwives this summer, and has also provided funding to furnish and equip a dedicated room to provide privacy for parents in the aftermath of baby loss, so they can spend time with their baby.

Richard McBarnet, co-chair of West Herts and Bucks Sands, said: "The care and compassion we received when our own daughter Sophia died 10 years ago in Watford General was above and beyond. It left such a lasting impression that I felt compelled to join the local Sands group and play an ongoing role in supporting others."

Local MP Richard Harrington said: "It was a pleasure to meet with the nursing and midwifery staff at Watford General to see the fantastic work they’re doing to support women and improve the experience of those who suffer bereavement at any stage during pregnancy.

"I’m a strong supporter of the hospital and really welcome the efforts they have made to improve facilities for bereaved families and introduce a specially trained bereavement midwife. As we learned today, good care doesn’t make pregnancy loss any easier, but bad care makes it even more unbearable."


For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our near 5,324 followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) or find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).

  1. For more information, please contact Kelly White, Senior Communications Officer in the Trust’s communications department on telephone: 01923 436 281 or email: info@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228 031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is a large acute trust serving people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three sites at Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead hospitals and sees about 600,000 patients a year. We are one of the largest employers locally, with around 4,500 staff and volunteers.