We were delighted when Public Health Minister, Anne Milton MP, visited St Thomas’ Hospital’s  maternity unit and the Evelina Children’s Hospital’s neonatal unit on Thursday 10th June to mark Sands Awareness Month.

The hour long visit provided the Minister with an overview of the maternity unit, the neonatal unit and the Sands suite, available to parents whose baby is stillborn or dies shortly after birth. During her time at the hospital, Mrs Milton also met with staff and families.

Commenting on her visit, Anne Milton said, “It is so impressive to see the complete dedication of the midwives, nurses, doctors and other staff who care for very sick and premature babies and their parents at St Thomas’. These babies really are the most vulnerable members of our society. Thanks to the hard work of neonatal professionals, both here and across the country, increasing numbers of babies are alive today who only ten or twenty years ago would not have survived. The death of a baby is a devastating experience which can be overwhelming for parents, their families and friends.  For more than thirty years Sands has provided invaluable support to those affected by stillbirth or the death of a baby. I am very supportive of the charity and pleased to have this opportunity to thank them for the important work they do."

Neal Long, chief executive of Sands added: "It is great to see Anne Milton showing such strong interest in maternity and neonatal issues by visiting the maternity and neonatal baby units at St Thomas’ Hospital. Seventeen babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day in the UK, a figure that has changed little in more than a decade. Mrs Milton has been extremely supportive of our work in the past and we hope in her new role as Public Health Minister she will ensure that reducing the number of baby deaths remains high on the Government’s agenda."