Help Sands Make Lasting Change 

We campaign to save babies' lives and ensure that, when a baby does die, anyone affected gets the support and care they need. 

 Our campaigns have succeeded in improving maternity safety, and the care that parents can access after the death of a baby, as well as making sure that groups who are at higher risk of baby loss aren’t overlooked. 

You, our supporters, play a huge role in helping us make lasting change. You can read below about all the ways you can take part – the first step we recommend is to sign up to our campaign newsletter so that you can stay informed on our activities. 

How to get involved 

Sands is lucky to have a dedicated team and community of campaigners. As we grow, our potential as a force for change grows too.  In time there will be more ways for you to help us make lasting change. Here are some ways for you to get involved now. 

Newsletter

✔ Stay informed about campaign progress and success

✔ Discover opportunities to stay involved and make a difference

✔ Hear inspiring stories about saving babies' lives and improving bereavement support

Sign up to the newsletter     See previous newsletters

Take our e-actions 

Several times a year we ask our community of campaigners to get in touch with their local politician and ask them to take action. This includes asking your MP to write to a Government minister about staffing levels, or asking you MSP, MLA or MS to show support for Baby Loss Awareness Week. If you are signed to our mailing list you will be invited to take part when these opportunities arise. 

Share on social media 

We rely on our community to help spread the word about our campaigning. Sharing our e-actions and awareness-raising posts helps us reach new supporters and build our community. You can also go on your preferred platform and share your story, telling us and your friends why you support our cause and any particular campaign. 

Meet your MP

Meeting your elected representatives can be an effective way to help make baby loss a  priority, and they can also raise any issues on your behalf with your local NHS and even ministers.

We’ve put together this handy form, to help you get in touch with your MP and ask them to meet you.

Meet your MSP, MS or MLA

As well as being represented by a Member of Parliament (MP) who is based in the UK Parliament at Westminster, people living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also have elected members of their own parliaments. In Scotland, these are Members of Scottish Parliament (MSP), in Wales, Members of the Senedd (MS), and in Northern Ireland, Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA). These representatives focus solely on work that impacts their constituents in the countries in which they are elected.

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the constituency (area) that you live in will have one MP in the UK Parliament, but you will have more than one MSP, MS or MLA as voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland elect one for their constituency, and multiple regional representatives for the larger area they live in.

Health is a devolved matter, which means that decisions around healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are made by the governments in those nations. If you live in a devolved nation and you want to raise an issue about healthcare, raise it with your MSP, MLA or MS  but you can speak to your MP about it as well if you’d like to.

We have put together a simple online form where you can enter your postcode and find out who your local representatives are, and raise an issue with them and arrange to meet with them if you’d like to.

For Scotland, you can contact your local MSPs here.

For Wales, you can contact your local MSs here.

For Northern Ireland, you can contact your local MLAs here.

If you would like any help or support in contacting your local representatives or meeting them, please email campaigns@sands.org.uk and we’d be happy to have a chat.

Recent Campaign Wins and Progress 

2023 – MPs and Government take notice: Maria Caulfield, Minister for Maternity Responds to Saving Babies’ Lives Progress Report 

Sands and Tommy’s have recently come together to form a Joint Policy Unit, working together to achieve change that will save more babies' lives and tackle inequalities in pregnancy and baby loss. 

Charlotte Bevan from Sands speaking at Sands and Tommy's Joint Policy Unit Saving Babies' Lives report launch in Parliament

On the 15th May, the Unit launched its Saving Babies' Lives Progress Report in Parliament and you invited their MPs to attend. Over 35 MPs attended the event or sent a representative from their office, with the Minister for Maternity, Maria Caulfield MP, attending and promising to do more to save babies’ lives. 

See more on the event here: https://twitter.com/SandsInsights/status/1658105005927194624  

 

2022 – Safe staffing: UK Government commits to hiring 2,000 more midwives in England and to publishing an NHS workforce plan 

Staffing levels in maternity care are well below what is needed to provide safe care, and crucially for bereaved families good bereavement care when a baby dies. 

Our survey found that bereavement midwives have on average only two hours allocated to each death, including direct care for families, liaising with funeral and counselling services, and administrative support. This is obviously not enough. 

During #BLAW 2022 we asked you to contact your local elected representative to ask them to raise this with the Government urging action to increase specialist maternity staff. 

In November, the Government committed to hiring an extra 2,000 midwives in England and to a long-term and independently verified workforce plan and we will be following up to understand how they plan to achieve this over the coming months. 

 

2021 – Bereavement care training: Hospitals around the UK agree to improve their bereavement care training 

In June 2022 for #TogetherWeAreSands, we asked you to write to their local NHS chief executive to ensure that staff across their trust can access vital bereavement care training.  

Our survey found that less than half of NHS trusts and boards across the UK make this training available to healthcare professionals providing care for parents following pregnancy loss or the death of a baby, and only 12% are given time during working hours to attend.   

We were over the moon to reach 92% of trusts and boards across the UK with this campaign. Some of these have since been in touch with us to see how we can support them to improve their bereavement care training.  

Following this NHS England also announced an additional £1.3m in funding to improve bereavement care provision, including training. 

 

2021 – Reducing inequality: Government agrees to a confidential enquiry into Asian and British Asian baby deaths 

During Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021, we invited you to ask your MP to support a confidential enquiry into Asian and British Asian baby deaths to go alongside the enquiry into Black and Black British baby deaths. Asian and Black babies are more likely to die than White babies, even when other factors such as socio-economic status are accounted for. This means that something in the way our healthcare system functions causes disadvantages for these groups. 

Sands inforgraphic for the call for enquiry into Asian and British Asian baby deaths

The government agreed to the confidential enquiry we campaigned for, which is a really important step in reducing inequalities and saving babies lives. This is an opportunity to make real headway in ensuring that all lessons are learnt, and preventable deaths avoided. Potentially saving hundreds of lives every year - had stillbirth and neonatal death rates for Black and Asian babies been the same as for White babies, 432 fewer babies would have died in 2019 in England and Wales.  

In May 2023, Sands won a prestigious Sheila McKechnie Foundation ‘Amplifying Voices’ Award for this campaign. 

Find out more in this news update

 

Working with others to influence change 

We work in partnership with other organisations and networks to pool our collective knowledge and resources to make a bigger impact. 

We campaign across the UK to raise awareness of the issues relating to baby loss obtain widespread commitment to reducing the number of babies dying, and ensure the right care and support is available at the right time after the death of a baby. 

We hold the Government to account, for example by monitoring and analysing available data on the numbers of babies dying and tracking this against national targets. 

Find out about how we are doing this and how you can support us below. 

For the latest news and updates on our policy and campaigns work, follow us on Twitter @SandsInsights

Sharing evidence 

We gather feedback and information from bereaved parents, professionals and health services to inform government policy and support practice. 

We submitted evidence to the Health Select Committee Inquiry into the safety of maternity services in England. Bereaved dad, Darren, also gave evidence

Baby loss awareness week 

Every year during Baby Loss Awareness Week (9 to 15 October) we work with other charities to influence policy to improve bereavement care and reduce baby deaths. 

Pregnancy and Baby Charities Network 

As a member of the Pregnancy and Baby Charities Network, Sands has worked collaboratively with over 20 other organisations over a number of years to influence policy in order to address inequalities and improve outcomes across the country. 

Read more about the network and download our Manifesto here. 

All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss 

Founded in February 2016, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss brings together MPs and Peers from across parties to work on this vital issue. 

The APPG’s overall aims are to develop policy that supports families dealing with the grief and loss of a baby, and to raise awareness of what more can be done by the Government, Parliament or other agencies to help those affected. 

The APPG officers are: 

  • Co-Chair: Cherilyn Mackrory MP 
  • Co-Chair: Helen Morgan MP 
  • Vice-Chair: Patricia Gibson MP 
  • Vice-Chair: Sharon Hodgson MP 
  • Vice-Chair: Sarah Owen MP 
  • Vice-Chair: Angela Crawley MP 
  • Sir John Hayes MP 
  • Theo Clarke MP 

Read more about the APPG here

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