11 & 12 November, the International Centre in Telford

Sands will be attending the RCM Annual Conference on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 November at the International Centre in Telford, Shropshire.

Over a thousand midwives and student midwives from across the UK are due to come together to discuss and debate the hot topics that are crucial to the profession.

If you are planning to attend, please do come and say hello to us at our exhibition stand (Number 16).

For full details about the event visit http://www.rcmconference.org.uk/


11 September, Brunei Gallery, London

The sixth annual Uncertainty and Loss in Maternity and Neonatal Care conference jointly hosted by Bliss, the RCM and Sands, took place in September at the Brunei Gallery in London.

Health professionals listened throughout the day to a varied programme packed with insights about best practice when responding to critical illness in babies, and how to provide the best possible care to parents who are facing uncertainty, loss and bereavement in the delivery of maternity and neonatal care.

A range of highly respected speakers addressed the conference including clinicians, researchers, professors, bereavement midwives, neonatal nurses, and bereaved parents, as well as representatives from Sands, Bliss and the RCM.

The overwhelming message throughout the day was the need for effective and straightforward communication and enabling parents to have choices. Allowing parents to make those choices can subsequently empower health professionals to make a positive difference to families that are in a devastating situation, which can improve the care of those facing uncertainty and loss.  

For further information about speakers please see conference programme. 


18- 21 September 2014, Amsterdam

Sands will be attending the 2014 International Congress on Stillbirth, SIDS and Baby Survival on the 18th- 21st September 2014.

It was held at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Amsterdam, The Netherlands. At the congress the aim is to exchange current knowledge of preventive measures and successful strategies that have been developed to prevent infant death and stillbirth.

Bereaved parents from around the world came together with internationally respected researchers into stillbirth and perinatal death and health professionals to exchange current knowledge of preventive measures and successful strategies that have been developed to prevent infant death and stillbirth. The conference programme balanced sessions on this and looking at bereavement care and breaking down barriers to communication.

Sands has been a longstanding supporter of ISA and the incomparable opportunity for learning and discussion that their annual meetings provide, and

Veronica Turner, Improving Bereavement Care Manager, and Charlotte Bevan, Senior Research Adviser, presented a special 90 minute Sands session ‘Bringing about change in the UK – a collaboration of parents and professionals’,

Dr Catherine Calderwood, National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women’s Health for NHS England and Medical Adviser to the Scottish Government, and Gail Johnson, Education and Professional Development Adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, also presented.

Listening to Parents study presentation 

9 April 2014, The Royal Society of Medicine, London

The final report for the Listening to Parents: The impact of stillbirth and neonatal death survey was launched at an event at the Royal Society of Medicine on the 9th April 2014.  Conducted by a team at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) in Oxford with the support of Sands and Bliss, the survey is the first national survey of bereaved parents ever undertaken and gives a picture of the experiences of over 700 families whose baby died in 2012.

“I felt my consultant was too busy to care. Consultant simply said if you lose it you lose it. Nothing you can do. Very insensitive.

“Doctors, midwives and hospital staff were extremely gentle with us and all decisions made were without pressure.

Listening to Parents, has highlighted huge gaps in care and provision. While some of the 720 parents who responded said their care was sensitive and supportive care, others did not.

Around two-thirds of parents whose baby died before labour suspected something was wrong, but around half of these parents felt their concerns weren’t listened to or taken seriously when they contacted a health professional.

Too many bereaved women stayed in rooms within earshot of newborn babies and women in labour (more than half in the case of mothers of stillborn babies). And when women returned home, some reported that the health professionals who visited them were clearly uncomfortable handling their situation. Many were not given information about how to cope with breast milk production, or contacts for counselling should they want it.

The report will inform improvements to Department of Health policy that must be made to avoid the postcode lottery of bereavement and postnatal care. Sands is using learning points from the survey to inform its training programmes for health professionals and is joining its voice with other charities to campaign for better care for all parents.

The full report from the studycan be found at www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/listeningtoparents. The team contacted all women who’d registered a stillbirth or neonatal death in England between 1 Jan and 31 March 2012 or 1 June and 31 August 2012 for the survey, and 720 women felt able to complete and return the study questionnaire.