Sands is delighted to be a part of the re-launched National Stillbirth Working Group for Wales, which held its first meeting on 23 January 2015.

The previous Working Group was set up as part of the Transforming Maternity Services Mini-Collaborative, a 3-year programme started in 2011 to improve the experience and outcomes for women, babies and their families using maternity services in Wales. Sands highlighted the high stillbirth rates in Wales and stillbirth reduction was made the focus of the  specially created group, named the Welsh Initiative for Stillbirth Reduction (WISR). It saw progress being made in several important areas, including some highlighted by the 2013 1-day inquiry into stillbirths in Wales by the National Assembly for Wales’ Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC). Unfortunately, funding for WISR stopped with the end of the Mini-Collaborative in early 2014, when maternity services in Wales were re-organised into a Maternity Networks model

The new National Stillbirth Working Group (NSWG), chaired by Dr Jean White (Chief Nursing Officer/Nurse Director for Wales), is now picking up the WISR work and the recommendations of the HSCC. Each of Wales’ 7 Health boards is represented on the group, which also includes representatives from Antenatal Screening Wales, Public Health Wales, Sands and the Welsh Government. We have been able to update the Group on our ongoing work with other charities, health professionals and professional bodies to link pregnancy advice with reducing the risk of stillbirth. And we’re working with health professionals in Wales to improve information about post mortems. Following feedback from Welsh parents about current standards of care, we’ve asked that the Group also looks at bereavement care in Wales. And we’ve suggested the Group recommend a target for stillbirth reduction, similar to that set by the Scottish Government (15% reduction by 2015). The Group will be meeting regularly through 2015 to share experience and drive progress.

For more information about the Mini-Collaborative and the progress made by the Working Group to March 2014, go to www.1000livesplus.wales.nhs.uk/maternity.

Information about the HSCC 1-day inquiry into stillbirths, including a progress report published Sept 2014, is available at http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=3352