The quality of care that bereaved parents receive when their baby dies is at the top of the agenda for a group of national charities and professional bodies.

The National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP), which has the support of the Department of Health, has been developed to improve the quality of bereavement care experienced by parents and families at all stages of pregnancy and baby loss up to 12 months.

A Core Group* of charities and professional bodies who are leading the NBCP, are pleased to announce 11 sites in England who will trial the use of new materials, guidelines and training for professionals to help improve the care bereaved parents receive.

The 11 sites will work with the project team to understand the impact and the effectiveness of the pathway on improving bereavement care for parents. The sites have been chosen as they are representative of geography, capacity and specialism and will begin to pilot the pathway from October.

Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands and Chair of the Core Group, said: “I am delighted that we have so many enthusiastic partners across the country who want to work with us in improving bereavement care for those parents when a baby dies.

“As a collaboration we were inundated with offers of support and I am excited by the potential impact that the pathway will have in these 11 sites, in the first instance. We look forward to learning from their experiences before wave 2 begins and the wider roll out later next year.”

The bereavement care received by parents varies hugely regionally. All bereaved parents should be offered the same high standard of parent-centred, empathic and safe care when a baby dies.

The quality of care that bereaved families receive when their baby dies can have long-lasting effects. Good care cannot remove parents’ pain and grief, but it can help parents through this devastating time. Poor care can and does make things much worse.

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This is important work because it is about giving bereaved families better care following the sad loss of a baby and we need to get it right. Learning from parents and the results of the work at the pilot sites will mean care can be better tailored to meet the needs of families.”

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick, said: "Bliss is proud to be partnering on this project to improve bereavement care for pregnancy and infant loss. We know that being supported in the right way can help grieving parents and families at this heart-breakingly difficult time, and we look forward to working with the pilot sites to deliver consistent, high-quality and parent-centred care.”


The 11 sites are:

  • Wirral University Teaching Hospital
  • Liverpool Women’s Hospital Trust
  • York Teaching Hospital NHS Trust
  • Hull & East Yorkshire NHS Trust
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
  • Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (Barnstaple Hospital)
  • Medway (Maritime) NHS Foundation Trust
  • West Middlesex, Chelsea & Westminster
  • Barking, Havering & Redbridge University Trust - Queens Hospital, Romford
  • Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

A second wave of pilot sites is planned for April of 2018, ahead of a wider national roll out in October 2018. An announcement regarding these sites will be made early in 2018.

For further information visit the National Bereavement Care Pathway section on our website.


Notes to editors

For further information, please contact Lee Armitt, Press and PR Officer on 020 3897 3449/07587 925411 or


*The National Bereavement Care Pathway Core Group are:

  • Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity)
  • Bliss
  • The Lullaby Trust
  • The Miscarriage Association
  • ARC (Antenatal Results & Choices)
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Royal College of Midwives
  • Royal College of Nursing
  • Neonatal Nurses Association
  • Institute of Health Visiting
  • NHS England
  • Representative of the UK health research community


About Sands

Sands is the leading stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK. They work nationally to reduce baby deaths through promoting better maternity care and funding research. They have a programme of training and a wide range of resources designed to support professionals to improve the bereavement care they provide following the death of a baby, and they provide a comprehensive bereavement support service both nationally through their helpline and locally through around 100 regional support groups based across the UK.