The Scottish Bereavement Care Awards were devised by the Scottish Government Bereavement in Maternity Care national subgroup and launched in 2015.

The purpose of the Awards is to provide health boards with incentive and assistance to develop their bereavement care. The overall aim of the Awards is to improve the bereavement care provided to families who experience loss during pregnancy, birth or the postnatal period.

Following applications for the 2016 awards, we are delighted to award the £5,000 each to three health boards in Scotland: 

NHS Ayrshire and Arran (Crosshouse hospital)

The Ayrshire Maternity Unit were successful due to their pledge to develop a number of key areas that will benefit parents whose baby has died. 

They’ll ensure that reliable processes are put in place so that parents are provided with bereavement support following discharge from hospital, as well as offering liaison support to parents after the death of a baby.

NHS Lanarkshire (Wishaw General Hospital)

NHS Lanarkshire’s Wishaw General Hospital Bereavement team have a forward looking plan. This aims to improve the bereavement care already provided by the hospital in two ways:

First, by maximising the opportunities parents have to create memories after the death of a baby, ensuring a consistent approach.

Second, to review what happens after a mother is discharged and to create standardised improvements to ensure that the appropriate support can be provided.

NHS Western Isles (Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway)

The Maternity Ward at the NHS Western Isles will ensure that women across the Western Isles receive consistent, high quality care.

Specifically, provision of care will be developed on smaller islands who do not have a resident support worker, such as Uist and Barra. Training will also be given to maternity staff on helping parents create memories following the death of a baby. Support for parents after they leave maternity care will also be formalised and embedded into practice.

Timescale for the 2016 Scottish Bereavement Care Award:

  • Launch of the award - 9 October 2016
  • Closing date for bids to be accepted by Sands -16 December 2016    
  • Adjudicating Panel shortlisting - 7 January 2017
  • Awards announced - Mid January 2017
  • Mid year project update report - 1 July 2017
  • Project Activity to be completed by - 31 December 2017
  • Final report and evaluation of project activity - February 2018

Download the Scottish Bereavement Care Awards application form.


Details of the 2015 winning bids are as follows:


This application demonstrated consideration of local service needs and identification of gaps. The proposed project activities match the gaps identified.

The project activities represent a positive mix of practical service development (development of a team of midwives with a special interest in bereavement to ensure spread of expertise across the service in both hospital and community settings, introduction of an additional postnatal visit and midwifery support at the debrief meeting, ensuring paperwork is up to date and well stocked, introduction of new multi-agency meetings) and training (one Sands Bereavement care training workshop and a memorial photography day for a wider group of staff and then more specific counselling training for the new midwifery team).

Greater Glasgow and Clyde:

The project identified a clear service need for a specific bereavement link midwife post, based on local evidence. The proposal indicated three key areas of activity for the link midwife based at one of the maternity units: supporting staff, advocating for and supporting parents and developing standards.  The proposal identified a potential mechanism for continued funding for the post following the lifetime of the project. The project and role were embedded in the context of a key local priority of the Care assurance scheme, which will ensure the project and role are more likely to be supported in the longer term.


The proposal demonstrated clear liaison with service user representatives through Sands and identification of specific local service needs and gaps. The solutions and activities proposed for the project matched the gaps and local challenges well, particularly picking up on the challenges presented by families needing to transfer to the mainland for some of their care.

The proposal of developing the skills, particularly in counselling, of staff already in relevant posts in different parts of the service, appears to present a workable and sustainable model for a small remote health board.  

The funding requested was detailed and represented a positive mixture of training, practical items (candles, camera and stationary), along with some imaginative suggestions including the ‘take the baby’s journey’ fact finding trip.

The proposal demonstrated awareness of the new free online eLearning resource developed by NES and demonstrated matched funding for Sands training events locally.  The development of some multi-agency working with Sands and the council to develop services for families was a positive element of the proposal.

2015 Decision making panel members: Cheryl Titherly, Sands and Scottish Government bereavement sub-group member; Emma Currer, RCM and Scottish Government bereavement sub-group member; Dr Mary Ross-Davie, NHS Education for Scotland and Scottish Government bereavement sub-group chair.

The decision about the 2015 award was made through a three stage process:

  1. Each panel member individually assessed each application using a proforma scoring sheet.  This enabled them to give each application a score out of 60.
  2. A teleconference meeting was held with the three panel members, when the scores were shared and then aggregated, giving each application a score out of a possible 180.
  3. In addition to the scores on the proforma, discussion among the panel members explored the overall merit of the proposal in terms of the current wider context of maternity bereavement care and research in Scotland and the additional value of the project in relation to the other bids.

The three panel members reached unanimous agreement that three of the nine applications met a standard that warranted the award of £5000.