Sands is delighted that Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, secured a Commons debate on Stillbirths and Infant Mortality on 26 March 2014.

Sands briefed the MP’s researcher before the debate and Tracey met with Kent Sands to discuss the issues around stillbirth and early neonatal deaths with bereaved parents. In her speech Tracey called for:

  • more midwives
  • improved methods of measuring and monitoring babies’ growth during pregnancy (Sands is funding research into the value of third trimester ultrasound scans)
  • examination of the 42-week cut-off for induction
  • increased awareness of reduced fetal movements (Sands is contributing funds to a large study looking at the importance of raising awareness and dealing with every woman’s concerns in a consistently thorough way)
  • parents to receive good care from the health service, whether by ensuring the appropriate equipment is available—such as cameras and other equipment to take handprints and footprints, with staff available who know how to use it—or by providing access to all the literature and available support and advice, including bereavement services. “We must also ensure that parents receive correctly handled treatment; we must remember to treat them as parents even if they do not have a baby”
  • a national standard for bereavement care and investment in bereavement midwives.

She ended her speech by calling to “make Britain the best place to start life and give every expectant mother all the support they deserve.”

In her response, Jane Ellison (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health) described how the Department of Health and NHS England are working with a number of key partners, including Sands, Public Health England, the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, to take forward a stillbirth prevention work programme.

The full transcript of the debate is available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140326/halltext/140326h0001.htm (scroll down to 2.30 pm)