Speakers at the seventh joint annual conference on uncertainty and loss in maternity and neonatal care, organised by Sands, Bliss and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), championed the need for continuity of care for patients last week. The conference offered delegates the opportunity to network as well as hear from experts, peers and parents about how to better to respond to critical illness, loss and bereavement in the delivery of maternity and neonatal care.

The conference was opened by Lesley Page, President of the RCM, who called for compassionate, relationship-led care in midwifery as part of improving the continuity of care patients receive. She also launched the new Bereavement Care Network website, a joint initiative by Sands, the RCM, ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) and Child Bereavement UK forum for health professionals to share best practice, exchange ideas, share experiences and seek informal peer support, as well as access useful information and resources.

During the day, Sands Improving Bereavement Care Manager Cheryl Titherly announced new Training days for Health Professionals and Doulas and spoke of the success of previous days in the first year since the new Sands bereavement care training was launched. Laura Price, Sands Research and Information Officer, outlined our plans to reduce the rate of stillbirth and neonatal death in the UK by funding new and ongoing research.

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Delegates also heard from two parents who each spoke movingly about the care they received when their babies were stillborn and born prematurely.

Other items included an update of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists  (RCOG)’s Each Baby Counts project, an illustration of good practice in bereavement care from Sam Collinge, Bereavement Specialist at Warwickshire NHS Trust and an in depth presentation on support for staff when a baby dies from Child Bereavement UK Founder, Patron and Trustee Julia Samuel. There was also a lively and informative panel discussion on faith in care provision that explored how best to meet patients’ cultural needs.

Next year’s conference will take place on 15 September.