I know that the death of a baby must be one of the most harrowing things that a parent can possibly go through, and I agree that, while we have made great strides in this area, and the UK is one of the safest places in the world to have a baby, more can be done to reduce infant mortality, and support families after baby loss.
Recently, Nadine Dorries, a minister in the Department for Health and Social Care, met with the charities Sands, Bliss, and Tommy’s as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week, and also hosted the first meeting of a new maternity inequalities oversight forum. This forum, a group of clinical and academic experts and service users, has been established to investigate inequalities such as reports that black women are five times more likely to have a stillbirth or to die during childbirth.
The Government is also working to promote a culture of learning in the NHS, through institutions such as the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch, which has established a process for sharing lessons learned between NHS trusts, so we consistently improve maternity care across the country. I hope that the Government will continue to build on these efforts.
Bereavement support for parents who have lost a baby is also highly important, and I welcome the fact that over 50% of UK hospitals now have bereavement suites where families can spend time with their baby and begin to grieve their loss. I understand that Minister Dorries has also asked for these suites to be made available in the 40 new hospitals being built this decade.