To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) number and (b) availability of dedicated maternity bereavement rooms and facilities across the NHS.
13 March 2017
Decisions about the provision of bereavement services are best taken locally. It is for local National Health Service organisations to ensure that appropriate facilities and services are in place to support bereaved parents following the death of a baby.
The Department has published Health Building Note 09-02: Maternity Care Facilities a guideline on the design and planning of maternity care facilities in new healthcare buildings and on the adaptation/extension of existing facilities. In line with the guidance, we would expect new build or redesigned maternity units to have facilities available for women and families who suffer bereavement at any stage of pregnancy.
Since 2010, we have invested £35 million in the NHS to improve birthing environments and this included better bereavement rooms and quiet area spaces at nearly 40 hospitals to support bereaved families.
In 2016, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity, Sands, published Audit of bereavement care provision in United Kingdom maternity. The audit found that of the 62 trusts and health boards that responded:
- 63% has a bereavement room in each maternity unit in the trust or health board;
- 26% has a bereavement room in at least one maternity unit but not all in the trust or health board; and
- 11% had no dedicated bereavement room in the trust or health board.