The 8th joint Uncertainty and Loss in Maternity and Neonatal Care Conference, proudly presented by Sands, Bliss and The Royal College of Midwives, took place on 15 September 2016 in London.

The conference offered delegates the opportunity to network as well as hear from experts, peers and parents about how to better respond to critical illness, loss and bereavement in the delivery of maternity and neonatal care. It was once an again a sell-out event with around 280 Healthcare Professionals attending.

Speakers championed listening to parents, learning from each other and working together to make a significant difference for parents.

Dr Clea Harmer advocated how powerful the parent’s voice can be in order to make significant change and how sharing knowledge and good practice can make a huge difference to parents. 

Gail Johnson, Professional Advisor Education at the RCM, urged delegates to sign up to the Bereavement Care Network website, in order to learn from and share with each other.  

The call to action was reiterated throughout the day with those in attendance asked to think about what they can do differently to help when they return to their roles.

Delegates also heard from bereaved parents about the impact the death of a baby has on a couple and a bereaved father who spoke movingly about the loss of one of his twins.

Other items included Kath Evans, Experience of Care Lead- Maternity, Newborn, Children and Young People, who highlighted the importance of patient experience feeding into service improvements when updating on how far we’ve come in with transforming maternity services.

Key findings from the MBRRACE–UK’s 2014 Perinatal Surveillance report and the Confidential Enquiry into Term, singleton, Antepartum Stillbirths were presented by Professor Elizabeth Draper, Professor of Perinatal & Paediatric Epidemiology.

An update on the implementation of the NHS Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle by Katy Evans, Maternity QI Matron at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and their successes and challenges.

Jane Denton, Director of The Multiple Births Foundation, explained what health professionals need to the support families after the loss of a twin.

Dr Nina Wilson, Horsham and Mid-Sussex CCG and Chair of Petals Charity, explored what good care after bereaved parents leave hospital should look like and opportunities for improvement.

Melita Walker, Professional Development Officer/ Perinatal Mental Health Lead and the Institute of Health Visiting, spoke about the need for improved perinatal mental health care.

Mummy’s Star Chair, Nicolette Peel, spoke about supporting families through cancer in pregnancy and beyond.

Examples of good practice and improvements in bereavement and antenatal care across the UK were celebrated throughout the day, although it was acknowledged that there is still a lot more to do in order to sustain and improve on both of these.