The loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy is an unimaginable tragedy and my deepest sympathies are with the families and individuals who have suffered the loss of a baby.
Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and the absence of virtual participation in Parliamentary debates, I was sadly unable to attend the debate on baby loss earlier this month. However, some of my SNP colleagues, many who have children themselves, were able to attend.
Patricia Gibson MP participated in the debate, and highlighted “we need to understand that expectant mums clearly need reassurance to feel secure in the knowledge that the NHS, even as it deals with covid, is still there for them.”
The Scottish Government is clear that it is vital that women, and their families, who have experienced baby loss are provided with the right information, care and support taking into account their individual circumstances.
This care and support should, where appropriate include further investigation and counselling and all Boards should provide tailored miscarriage care to women in line with clinical guidance and as quickly as possible. All care decisions should be made in partnership with the woman and family, and we expect all bereaved parents/women to receive high quality, sensitive bereavement care following a loss.
The Scottish Government recognises that Covid-19 has a detrimental impact on bereaved families and is taking action to provide the necessary support and care during this difficult time.
To improve bereavement care for anyone affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby, the Scottish Government is supporting Sands UK, the stillbirth and neonatal charity, to develop National Bereavement Care Pathways for 5 different types of pregnancy or baby loss in Scotland, including miscarriage.
To improve perinatal support, Scot Gov are working with all health boards across Scotland to establish and expand specialist infant, neonatal and perinatal services. Services will be in place by the end of the financial year and we will be working closely with boards going forward to develop these services further.
Scot Gov are also providing funding to the regional Mother and Baby Units to increase staffing and develop centres of expertise. Shona Robison MSP launched her Changing Miscarriage Care campaign on 18 Sept 2020, which aims to remove the stigma surrounding miscarriages, and open a conversation about the devastating impact that miscarriage can have on women and men, who can often be left feeling unsupported or scared to speak out about their experience.