THE MPs for Winchester and Eastleigh visited the Royal Hampshire County Hospital to learn more about pregnancy and baby loss.

The meeting was organised by the charity SANDS which is calling for all NHS trusts to better support the National Bereavement Care Pathway.

The initiative, led by SANDS, aims to improve equity in bereavement care to combat the postcode lottery parents face in the standard of care.

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The bereavement team at the hospital in Winchester and CEO, Alex Whitfield, met Steve Brine and Paul Holmes to tell them more about the service.

Conversations covered the importance of wrap-around care, including supporting mothers and families if they go on to have further pregnancies. The group also discussed the importance of safer information reaching pregnant women and ensuring that listening to mums and their concerns is a top priority.

Mr Brine and Mr Holmes were also pleased to meet SANDS volunteers including Emily Veall who lost her son Joshua in Basingstoke in 2016 and now runs a Befriender Clinic in the Hampshire trust and bereaved father, Stephen Kelley, who recently set up Sands United Basingstoke, a football team for dads who’ve experienced baby loss.

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Mr Brine said: “Hampshire Hospitals NHS Trust provides excellent quality bereavement care and champions the National Bereavement Care Pathway. I remember working with them early on in my time as our MP to bring this level of care to Winchester and it’s so nice to see our hospital become an exemplar of good practice.

“The National Bereavement Care Pathway includes nine standards of care and is rolled out in 93 per cent of hospital trusts across England. However, even in hospitals where maternity units are providing excellent bereavement care and support, this is not always replicated in gynaecology, emergency or other departments, which can have an adverse effect on bereaved parents.”

The bereavement team led by Laura Mackie, Lead Bereavement Midwife, also showed the MPs the trust’s bereavement room, named the Butterfly Suite.

Mr Brine said: “It is so important for families to have a safe, protected space to spend time and make memories with their baby so the Butterfly Suite is really special.”