COLUMN: Dr Dan Poulter MP - ‘We must invest more into bereavement care’

Dr Dan Poulter ANL-150420-125353001

Dr Dan Poulter ANL-150420-125353001

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Recently in Parliament Will Quince, the new MP for Colchester, called a debate about bereavement facilities for parents who experience the tragedy of a stillbirth, miscarriage or the death of a new born child.

In the UK, we have some of the best trained, most dedicated midwives and maternity doctors in the world.

The quality of care at the maternity unit in Ipswich Hospital is outstanding. But no matter how good our healthcare services may be, things can go wrong, and babies can sometimes die.

In my career working as an NHS doctor, there are few more distressing circumstances I have experienced than seeing the trauma caused to mum, dad, family and friends by a stillbirth or death of a newly born baby.

Drawing on my professional experience, I was pleased to set up a new Government fund in 2013 of £35 million which has delivered improvements to around 150 birthing units, including Ipswich and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospitals.

Much of that new investment has gone to providing new bathrooms and facilities to allow women to give birth in greater dignity and privacy.

However, 20 birthing units have also benefited from the £35 million fund by being able to provide new bereavement rooms for families experiencing and trying to come to terms with the tragedy of a stillbirth or miscarriage.

But there is still more to do, and we need to continue to ensure more midwives are trained as specialists in providing bereavement care for families.

More than that, however, we must see a duty placed on all birthing units to provide the right care for families experiencing the tragedy of stillbirth.

Good bereavement care for bereaved families should not be a postcode lottery but a right for all who need it.

I will end my column on a positive note, and I often write about the impressive community spirit which underpins life in our towns and villages in Suffolk.

As the festive season arrives once again, it is the time of year when I support as many of our local Christmas fetes, fayres and bazaars as possible and I have already visited several events.

I always enjoy joining residents and visitors as Suffolk comes together to put on Christmas events, as it is a special time of year for family and friends to usher in the festive season together in good spirits.

These events and fairs would not be able to take place without the hard work and planning by local volunteers and I would like to extend my warmest thanks to all residents who have generously given and will give up their time to make the Christmas events across Suffolk a success, and to all the residents and visitors for their support and enthusiasm.

I attend as many Christmas events as possible in support of our communities and if you are organising a Christmas fayre or event and would like me to attend, please contact my office.

I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy Christmas and a harmonious, healthy New Year.

For more information on Dr Dan Poulter MP, please go to www.drdanielpoulter.com