New Scheme to Help Bereaved Parents with Funeral Costs

It was very touching to read in the independent about a new Government scheme. Parents who lose children (to include stillborn babies) are to be given up to £2,000 to help with funeral costs.

To lose a baby or child and then not have the money to bury them must add unnecessary anxiety to what is already a horrendous situation. I cannot imagine it.

According to the Independent, the Children’s Funeral Fund aims to reduce the financial burden for families by reimbursing burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors directly.

The fund will be available regardless of the family’s income, and will also include a contribution of £300 towards the cost of a coffin.

The fund is due to come into effect this month.

A really great initiative the benefit of which will sadly be felt by too many.

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.

For more information see

Stillbirth Rate in Hertfordshire Below the National Average

An article in the Welyn Hatfield Times revealed that the stillbirth rate in Hertfordshire was below the national average.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the rate of stillbirth in Hertfordshire increased by less than 0.1%.

It was reported that Hertfordshire moved from 3.5% in 2016, to 3.6% in 2017 per 1,000 births.

According to the article, the national trend in England and Wales was 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2016 move to 3.9 in 2017.

It states that it should be noted that due to live births and infant deaths, both in real number decreasing, the proportion of rates actually went up in England and Wales in 2017.

NHS East and North Hertfordshire Care Commissioning Group, told the website that published the article that it wants to raise awareness of stillbirths.

This is vitally important and is part of the NHS plan to tackle the rate of stillbirths. However, the reality is that our stillbirth rates are still unacceptably high for a developed country.

It’s comforting to see that steps are being taken to address this and i’m keeping everything crossed that the passage of time beings with it a reduction in our stillbirth rate.

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.

To access the full article please see

Raising Awareness of Stillbirth and Baby Loss at a Hospital at Hull

More really positive news in the world of stillbirth and baby loss.

A genuine and sincere well done to Hull Women and Children’s Hospital! On 7 June, specialist midwives will remember the precious babies who were taken too soon.

With the help of the charity, Count the Kicks, the first Rainbow Baby Day is being organised to support families who have lost a baby following a miscarriage, stillbirth or death shortly after birth (neonatal death) and who go on to have another child.

According to an article featured in Hull Live, a rainbow banner will be placed in the foyer of the hospital to raise awareness.

Sarah Green, specialist midwife was interviewed by Hull Live and she said that

She said: “Women who have lost a baby before are understandably anxious when they find out they are pregnant again and come back to us.

“To help them, we give them a special wooden rainbow plaque funded by Sands which can be attached to the outside of their door to show staff their new baby is not their first.

“While some women are happy to talk about the baby they have lost, others find it difficult and this stops them having to explain over and over again that this isn’t their first baby”.

What is a rainbow baby?

A rainbow baby is a baby born following the loss of another baby. It is called a rainbow baby because it is like a rainbow after a storm, or after a dark and turbulent time.

For more information please see

This is the second well done to Hull Women and Children’s hospital! According to the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust website, the Trust have reduced stillbirth by 36 per cent from 25 in 2016/17 to 14 so far in 2018/2019 and I have written a blog about this previously

I think this is initiative a such a thoughtful one. It costs very little. It would provide huge comfort to bereaved parents and anything that helps to break the taboo that surrounds stillbirth and neonatal death should be applauded.

I speak firsthand when I say that I know how difficult it is to be pregnant and to give birth after stillbirth. It is akin to mental torture. Naivety and innocence replaced with fear and anxiety. I have never met a bereaved mother who hasn’t found their subsequent pregnancy difficult.

I am very blessed to have gone onto have three rainbow babies. I have experienced one of the the worst outcomes of pregnancy but also the best and for that I feel extremely privileged.

Well done again Hull Women and Children’s hospital. I hope you set a trend and that the idea is taken up by other NHS Trusts throughout the country.

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.

Midwives Show Support of Bereavement Care Project

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.

Please see my previous post

Whilst midwives support this initiative, they have asked for funding for training. This is a fair enough demand. The benefit of the NBCP won’t be maximised unless the health professionals running it are taught how to best offer care.

The pilot project was first introduced across 11 trusts in 2017. It has the aim of helping to ensure bereaved parents are supported in the best way possible. It also aims to end the current postcode lottery facing parents and families of stillborn babies and those who die shortly after birth (neo-natal death).

It is now intended that the project is rolled out throughout all Trusts in England.

An article in the Nursing Times states that the Royal College of Midwives said it supported the call for the pathway’s roll out, but also asked the government to help fund ongoing bereavement training and education for midwives.

Education advisor at the RCM, Gail Johnson, said: “It is clear that this pathway works, and midwives and maternity support workers also appreciate the support this gives them to provide better care for bereaved families. We support the call for this to be introduced in NHS trusts across the country.

“We would like to see the government and trusts investing in this to ensure all parents get the support they need, and to fund ongoing education and training for midwives and their colleagues,” she said.

For more information see

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.

A Hospital Helping Parents of Stillborn Babies

I sadly know first hand how what torture a mother of a stillborn baby endures giving birth on a labour ward. Surrounded by the cries of newborn babies it is hell.

It’s so cruel to think that in 2019, parents of stillborn babies meet their babies on the same wards as those welcoming healthy newborns.

It was really comforting to read an article in the BBC recently about a hospital in the Midlands who plan to make a separate building for parents giving birth to stillborn babies.

According to the Office of National Statistics, one in every 238 births in 2017 was a stillbirth.

In the same year, three in every 1,000 neonatal babies – those born after 24 weeks’ gestation – died.

According to the Miscarriage Association, more than one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage equating to about a quarter of a million in the UK each year.

Some of these pregnancies end up on the delivery ward.

Birmingham Women’s Hospital plans to take action and has begun fundraising for a standalone centre for families of stillborn babies and other baby loss.

Woodland House would be built on the hospital’s grounds, to help the 2,000 women and their families they see every year who have suffered miscarriage, failed IVF, stillbirth or neonatal death.

According to the BBC, a crowdfunding mission aims to raise £3.5m for Woodland House, which, if successful, will feature counselling rooms, a private garden, communal lounge for support groups and a family room.

I think this is a wonderful initiative. At the end of the day, giving birth to death is always going to amount to torture. However, anything that can be done to create better memories and make the whole experience even slightly less hellish is a positive thing. To be honest, the fact that an NHS trust has even thought about the idea is fantastic in itself.

I’ve read a lot of positive articles regarding stillbirth and neonatal death which is really pleasing as it signals a shift in opinion is respect of just how devastating and life changing it is.

You can find examples of this positivity here:

For more information about Birmingham Women’s Hospital plans, see

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.

Over a Million Pounds to be Spent to Half Stillbirths and Maternity Incidents at NHS Hospital

It’s just so heartwarming to read on the Derby Telegraph website that more than a million pounds is going to be injected into Derby and Burton hospitals with this intention of halving the number of stillbirth and maternity incidents.

There were apparently 16 stillbirths at the Royal Derby hospital last year with the same amount in 2017 and more than double – 37 – in 2016. Last year, that’s 16 lives lost. The pattern of 16 families lives torn apart. Lives changed. Forever.

Of course, Derby and Burton hospitals proposal is part of a wider picture. The NHS has a long term plan to improve maternity care with the reduction of stillbirths and neonatal deaths – “Saving Babies Lives”.

In addition, the RCOG have also plans to tackle the high stillbirth rates with “Every Baby Counts” (see earlier blogs and

In line with the mission of “Saving Babies Lives”, the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB) says there is an aim to halve stillbirths, maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and serious brain injury in newborn babies by 2025.

Nearly a year ago, the Perinatal Institute found that 19 baby deaths at the Royal Derby between 2013 and 2016 “might” or should” have been preventable.

I genuinely commend the UHBD for allocating budget to the cause of saving babies lives in reducing stillbirth and neonatal death. One cannot underestimate the effects that a stillbirth or neonatal death can have on a family (I sadly know this first hand) and to read that a Trust is prioritising this is amazing. Hopefully more Trusts will follow suit.

For more information see:

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.

Improving the Quality of Care after a Stillbirth or Neonatal Death

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:

  1. Miscarried (including molar pregnancy and ectopic)
  2. Termination of Pregnancy for Fetal Abnormality (TOPFA)
  3. Stillbirth
  4. Neonatal death
  5. 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

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:

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.”


Hospital Under Review – Stillbirths and Neonatal Deaths

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

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.

NHS Pledge to Give Mothers Continuity of Care with Same Midwife – a Reduction in Stillbirth?

The NHS have promised to spend £40 million on providing women with the same midwife throughout their pregnancy.

As a result of this pledge, it is anticipated that maternity deaths will be reduced by a massive 50 per cent.

Currently, it isn’t uncommon for a woman to see different midwives throughout her pregnancy, both during the antenatal period, during labour and during the post-natal period. Not only would continuity of care mean that a woman would no longer have to keep repeating her story, it would, in my opinion, lead to better care. This is in respect of the measuring of a woman’s bump, the method of which is said to differ from midwife to midwife.

The government anticipates that over a third of women should benefit from the new plans by March next year, rising to more than half by 2021.

In addition to reducing maternal deaths, this new proposal also aims to reduce our stillbirth and neonatal death rate.

The new funding will be used to reduce the rates of stillbirth, neonatal death, maternal death and brain injury during birth by 20 per cent by the end of 2020/21, and 50 per cent by 2025.

I think that this is a really big step in helping to improve our maternity care. The cost is massive but I hope that the intended benefit in reducing maternal death, stillbirth, neonatal death and brain injury is realised quickly.

For more information please see

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.

My Appearance in Women’s Health Magazine – My Experience of Stillbirth

I was honoured and privileged to have been asked by Nikki Osman, a journalist at Women’s Health to feature in an article she was writing about stillbirth and its effect on women.

It’s always difficult to recount the stillbirth of Arella but it’s equally cathartic, to honour her memory and ensure that her little life wasn’t lost in vein.

I have copied the information relating to me below but the full article can be found here:

Before I experienced stillbirth: I’ve always thought of myself as an empathetic person. As a medical negligence solicitor, I dealt with some tragic cases, including stillbirth claims. I’d listened as women told me their stories, I’d cried tears for their babies and I’d read psychiatric reports that laid bare the trauma of losing your child.

I thought I had some grasp of how painful that could be. One of the first things I thought, lying in a hospital bed a week before my due date, hearing that my baby had died, was, ‘Oh, I’m one of those women now.’ It turns out you can never know that pain until you’ve lived it. 

We chose not to find out if we were having a boy or a girl – it didn’t matter to us, we just wanted a healthy baby. I spent a few months feeling nervous, but at the 20-week scan, we were told our baby was healthy and I began to relax.

We’d just moved into our new house and my due date was three months before my 30th birthday. We bought a pram, got the nursery ready, and on a Friday in June, I started my maternity leave.

What happened: The following Thursday – a week before my due date – I had a routine hospital appointment. My mum came with me, and she was at my side when the midwife said she couldn’t find a heartbeat.

I looked at my mum, she looked back at me, and I knew. I called my husband Jonathan and told him to come to the hospital. He told me later he left everything on his desk and ran out the door. He didn’t even close his computer.

People say they’ve had the worst birth ever because the epidural failed or the labour went on for hours. I had to give birth to a child I would never know, on a ward filled with the sound of babies crying. We tried to drown them out with music, but it didn’t work, and it was torture.

She was a she, and she was born around 10pm. We named her Arella. They asked me if I wanted to hold her, but I said no. I didn’t want to know what it was like to hold a dead baby.

I regret that now, but you make the best decision you can at the time. Shortly after, I started to haemorrhage. There were times in the months that followed when I wished I’d bled to death in that hospital bed.

My life after stillbirth: My world became a dark place. I’d get out of bed each morning, but I was going through the motions. My best friends were pregnant, so were both my sisters-in-law, and I couldn’t bear to see them – or anyone else. Jonathan went back to work after a week, but he was hurting.

Men aren’t affected physically, so they’re just expected to get on with it. But he’d lost a child, too, and on top of that he had to watch his wife fall apart.

My very best friends were amazing, because I gave them the tools to be amazing. I’d send emails saying what I needed and what I didn’t. I didn’t want to hear well-meaning platitudes that I’d have another child, that this wasn’t meant to be or that someone understood what I was going through because they’d had a miscarriage.

It’s misconceptions like these that make the grief so much harder to bear. You’re not just grieving for the baby you didn’t bring home. You’re grieving the child, teenager, person they will never grow up to be; you’re grieving the memory of giving birth to death.

What I wanted to hear after stillbirth: What saved me, I think, was Jane, a bereavement midwife specialising in grief who was assigned to me by the hospital. From the first day she arrived in my life, she changed it for the better.

She got me at a time when I felt like no one got me. She understood that my desire to become a mother hadn’t died with my daughter, and she instilled faith in me that I would go on to have more children without diminishing Arella’s memory.

Some days, she helped me to normalise my feelings of anger at the world and envy towards other mothers; others she just held my hand while I cried.

I love her for giving me faith in the future at the time when I needed it most, because she was right. I went on to have three healthy children – children Jane delivered – and they are the most precious things in my life.

My life now: Since going back to work, I’ve specialised in medical negligence in stillbirth, which means it’s my job to make sure that if the NHS trust involved is at fault for a baby’s death, it is held to account. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a baby because of someone’s negligence, but I know how to word the letters and what it means when someone uses your child’s name.

My life is so busy now for the best reasons. I don’t dwell on the pain of what I went through, but it doesn’t go away either.

I’ve got another child who’s not with me, and I feel it. I don’t go down the road of ‘what if’, I don’t sign her name on birthday cards, and if a stranger asks how many children I have, I don’t say four. It’s too sad, too uncomfortable. But I do have four children, and only three are at home with me.

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.

Stillbirth Rate Could be Reduced if Better Care was Given to Twins and Triplets

A research project funded by the Department of Health has revealed that women pregnant with twins and triplets are not all receiving the care that they should be afforded.

Apparently, this poor care is resulting in 100 stillbirths a year. This is shocking to read!

Experts have also found that a failure to adhere to the national guidelines is also leading (in addition to stillbirths) to 630 unnecessary C-Sections and 1,300 infant admissions to Neo-Natal intensive care each year.

It’s logical to read that those maternity units who followed the national NHS guidelines had improved outcomes for twins and triplets and for their mothers.

What is the recommended guidance for women carrying multiple babies? In 2013, the NICE guidelines recommended the following: 1) extra scans. 2) Being cared for by health professionals who specialise in multiple births. 3) Drawing up a detailed care plan. 4) Having a detailed strategy with how to deal with a premature birth.

The Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) used the term “pot luck” to describe what level of care an expectant mother would receive. It really is saddening to read that some hospitals don’t even follow the NICE guidelines. The NHS just shouldn’t offer a postcode lottery service. There should be standardisation throughout with every woman receiving the same level of care. Multiple births are known to be high risk in nature. Therefore, to not put the suggested measures in place really is appalling.

TAMBA concluded that if all maternity units adhered to the NICE guidelines, our stillbirth rate would drop 70 per cent for multiple birth pregnancies. This would save 100 babies lives a year. It would also save the NHS £8 million an year. If there’s truth to the cliche that money talks, you’d think that this would be a wake up call for the NHS.

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.