Pioneering baby loss policy from BWC rolled out across NHS England - The Solihull Observer

Pioneering baby loss policy from BWC rolled out across NHS England

Solihull Editorial 21st Mar, 2024   0

NHS STAFF across the country experiencing baby loss will be entitled to paid leave – thanks to a pioneering support package for staff that was first launched at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWC).

The Trust announced a new pregnancy and baby loss policy in 2021 detailing support, including periods of paid leave, for families who are suffering from baby loss or who have had a premature birth.

And now it is being rolled out to staff across NHS England so that colleagues across the NHS can have the time and space to process, grieve and begin to heal at a time when they need it most.

Rachel Carter, director of midwifery and deputy chief nurse (Women’s), said: “We care for many women and families every year at our Women’s Hospital who are living with the grief of losing their much-wanted baby through miscarriage.

“We are delighted that this policy has been adopted by so many other Trusts and we welcome the additional support for our colleagues in the NHS and encourage other Trusts and employers to adopt it.”

Since its introduction across BWC three years ago, the policy has offered up to ten days paid leave for the person who was pregnant and up to five days paid leave for the partner.

In addition, staff are also offered paid time off for appointments linked to pregnancy loss, and have a promise that all requests to work flexibly following a bereavement are treated with understanding and sensitivity.

Over the past year, Raffaela Goodby, chief people officer at BWC, has led a national project with stakeholders such as HR leads, trade unions, NHS staff, The Miscarriage Association and Tommy’s Charity to develop policy frameworks which can be adopted by other Trusts.

Kath Abrahams, Chief Executive of Tommy’s, the baby loss and pregnancy research charity, welcomed the news and said: “As the largest employer in the UK, the NHS is sending a powerful signal that staff going through this experience deserve understanding, compassion and the right to grieve – and that support is possible, no matter what your workplace looks like.

“We know what a difference it makes when this kind of policy is embedded and implemented effectively across organisations of all sizes, including NHS Trusts.”

Last month the Trust opened a new, dedicated pregnancy and baby loss centre – Woodland House at its Women’s Hospital – a first of its kind in a UK hospital setting, the charitably-funded centre offers a safe haven for families experiencing the heartbreak of loss, allowing families to grieve in private, away from the busy main hospital.


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