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Plea for support for bereaved mothers

Thursday October 29th, 2009

Campaigners call today for British hospitals to offer specialist bereavement help to women struck by the tragedy of losing a baby.

As many as 40 per cent of hospitals do not employ a midwife who can provide specialist bereavement counselling, according to the National Maternity Support Foundation.

The foundation released figures for National Maternity Day, which is held annually on October 29th, backed by the Royal College of Midwives.

The day was established to commemorate the death of a still-born baby Jake Canter after his mother could not get admission to her local hospital maternity department.

The foundation said that 40 per cent of NHS Trusts - 74 in total - fail to provide the service, condemning the shortfall as "totally inadequate".

There is also to be scholarship programme to enable midwives to train as bereavement counsellors.

Jake's father Andrew, chairman of NMSF, said: "We received incredible on-going bereavement counselling from the NHS Trust following Jake's stillbirth giving us tremendous strength and hope.

"It was the key to helping us through our darkest periods and getting our lives back on track. Without it, who knows where we would be now."

He added: "This report shows the shocking lack of bereavement counsellors in many major Trusts which leaves me absolutely convinced that this is an area the health authorities must invest in to help others in a similar position. We are proud to begin this process by creating the bereavement care scholarship programme."

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Nursing & Midwifery | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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