Every NHS trust in England has now signed up to the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) to improve the quality and consistency of bereavement care received by parents from the NHS after pregnancy loss or the death of a baby.

All 128 NHS England trusts with a maternity unit have publicly committed to adopting the nine standards in the NBCP, which is led by Sands in collaboration with bereaved families, other charities and Royal Colleges. 

The Pathway provides health care professionals with frameworks, tools and educational resources to support excellent care after all forms of pregnancy and baby loss, including pathways for miscarriage (including ectopic and molar pregnancies), termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly, stillbirth, neonatal death and sudden unexpected death of an infant up to 12 months.

"For families in England there should be high quality and accessible bereavement care each and every time a baby dies. This means more consistency in compassionate care delivered by sufficient numbers of trained staff in better equipped rooms, better communication between hospital departments and healthcare providers such as GPs. But we know this won't happen overnight. So whilst it is fantastic that every trust has signed up, Sands will continue to work with the NHS and our partners to help embed the NBCP and make sure it is effective."

- Marc Harder, Sands' Head of Bereavement Care & Hospital Liaison

Since the Pathway was launched in 2017 more healthcare professionals feel they now have consistent and clear guidelines which support them to provide good quality care for bereaved parents. The Pathway has improved the dialogue between hospital departments which has helped professionals to deliver care more consistently.

Sands will continue to lead and drive and coordinate this work with its partners and the next government, which must build on recent commitments and allocate funding to ensure services can provide the best possible support and care after loss.

The Scottish Government has made the NBCP mandatory for all 14 health boards in Scotland, and progress is being made to roll it out in Wales and Northern Ireland; announcements will be made soon in regard to both nations. 

For more information on the NBCP, including access to resources and tools please visit www.nbcpathway.org.uk or email bereavementcare@sands.org.uk 


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