The National Bereavement Care Pathway (“NBCP”) are seeking to improve the quality and consistency of bereavement care in NHS trusts following a stillbirth or neonatal death or other baby loss.
Launched in 2017, the NBCP seeks to increase the quality of, and reduce the inequity in, the bereavement care provided by healthcare professionals after the loss of a baby or pregnancy at any gestation.
The five pathways in total include:
- Miscarried (including molar pregnancy and ectopic)
- Termination of Pregnancy for Fetal Abnormality (TOPFA)
- Neonatal death
- Sudden Unexpected Death of an Infant
Following a ‘call for evidence’, draft pathways were created on the basis of good practice across the country. As a result, 32 healthcare settings in England have piloted the pathway over the past two years and have seen real changes for parents and professionals in their trusts. Following the outcome of the independent evaluations, the NBCP is being rolled out across England.
For more information see https://nbcpathway.org.uk/about-nbcp/national-bereavement-care-pathway-background-project
During Prime Minister’s Questions in Westminster on 15 May, the Prime Minister, in responding to a question from Antoinette Sandbach MP regarding the NBCP evaluation report released on 10 May, recognised the support that the NBCP provides to bereaved parents and urged all NHS Trusts to adopt the pathway.
The evaluation of the NCBP can be found here: https://nbcpathway.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-05/NBCP%20wave%20two%20evaluation%20report%207%20May%202019_0.pdf
Minister for Mental Health, Jackie Doyle-Price, had the following to say about the NCBP evaluation:
“Every stillbirth or baby loss is a tragedy and we remain absolutely committed to supporting parents through this difficult time.
This independent evaluation shows that National Bereavement Care Pathway has already helped to strengthen the support for many bereaved families across the country, but there is more to do and I would urge all NHS Trusts to adopt this approach to ensure all care surrounding baby loss meets these consistent standards.
Through our Long Term Plan for the NHS we are also accelerating action to halve the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths over the next five years and improving access to perinatal mental health care for mothers and their partners.”
I’m both sad and frustrated to be sat at my desk writing this blog. Another hospital under review. Another hospital not affording a reasonable standard of care to mothers and babies. Another hospital not meeting national targets.
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has received its fourth warning in eight months according to an article recently published in the Daily Mail.
The Care Quality commission (CQC) has issued a section 31 warning which means that the Trust faces closure if changes are not made.
Apparently, the most recent warning concerned a lack of staff in A&E particularly paediatricians.
An independent review is being conducted after 250 cases of poor maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust over the last 20 years. The review started in April 2017 following which many more families came forward over stillbirth, neonatal and child deaths.
It emerged that a failure to properly monitor heart rates played a contributory factor in five deaths whilst another two were found to be suspicious. Legal action taken and Inquests resulted in the finding that seven deaths were avoidable.
An investigation by the Trust found that two babies died from oxygen starvation to the brain ‘contributed to by delay in recognising deterioration in the foetal heart traces and the missed opportunities for earlier delivery’.
In September 2018 the West Midlands Quality Review Service warned Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust about its lack of trained staff in paediatric resuscitation.
The report noted that paediatric staff were only available ‘9am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 12 noon to 10pm on Saturdays and Sundays’.
‘Reviewers considered that a child could arrive and need resuscitation after 10pm and that a member of staff with appropriate competences to lead the resuscitation might not be available.’
Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust attribute the lack of available staff due to a strain on the service with a rise in patients. As a result, the Trust has approved spending of over £1 million for additional staffing in an attempt to combat the problem.
I don’t understand how poor care can get so out of hand but looking at the situation with a my positive eyes, I sincerely hope that the extra staff employed will greatly improve the care given and that all those families get the answers that they are striving for.
For more information please see https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7014485/Scandal-hit-NHS-trust-centre-baby-deaths-review-receives-warning.html
If you or a loved one would like to discuss a stillbirth compensation claim or neonatal death compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.