New national role for midwife who supports bereaved parents

A midwife University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust has been asked to co-lead a national review which could change the law for bereaved families.

Sam Collinge who is a Midwife and Maternity Bereavement Service Manager at University Hospital in Coventry will shape plans that will mean parents who lose a pregnancy before 24 weeks will be able to choose to register their baby’s death.

The announcement was tweeted by Secretary for State for Health and social care, Jeremy Hunt MP, on Friday (March 23).

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Currently, parents whose babies are stillborn after 24 weeks gestation can register the baby's name and receive a certificate of registration of stillbirth.  When a pregnancy ends before 24 weeks gestation however, there is no formal process for parents to legally register the loss.

Bereaved Mum Salma knows all too well the heartbreak of not being able to register her baby’s death.

She has had 20 pregnancy losses, 12 babies she was unable to register because they were born before the 24 weeks threshold.

Salma said: “My babies will always exist to me because I carried them, but a death certificate is official, it says to the world that they existed.   Sam looked after us in the darkest of hours and I cannot think of someone more compassionate than her to lead this, she is the perfect person for this important job.”

Together with Zoe Clark Coates from charity the Mariposa Trust (Saying Goodbye), Sam will also look at how services can be improved for parents who experience a miscarriage and other causes of a baby loss.

Alison Talbot, Head of Midwifery at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, said: “I am thrilled that Sam has been asked to lead this national review.  She provides outstanding care to women and their families during the most devastating time and for her to be chosen to do this is testament to her expertise and experience.”

She will also look at how services can be improved for parents who experience a miscarriage and other causes of baby loss.

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