Enhanced early pregnancy loss bereavement service introduced at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals

Families who experience early pregnancy and baby loss before 16 weeks of pregnancy will soon receive additional bereavement support as part of an innovative project being funded by Baby Beat, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s mums and babies’ charity.

In response to national recommendations, and from feedback shared by service users who have used early pregnancy services Baby Beat is investing, £93,116 into funding an early pregnancy loss bereavement nurse for the next 2 years.  

Sadly, an estimated 1:4/6 pregnancies end in loss during a pregnancy (this figure is often underrepresented) and a large proportion of those are during the early stages of pregnancy. Access to information and emotional support has been shown to significantly benefit families who are coping with a miscarriage or early pregnancy loss. The bereavement nurse post will provide much needed additional support and will include research to enable the service to continue to develop and define future service provision.

Dan Hill, head of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s charity family, said “Baby Beat is privileged to be supporting such an important quality improvement.  Women have told us about the devastating impact of pregnancy loss and the variation in the level of support they have received. In response to feedback, leads of the service have developed an early pregnancy improvement plan and this work includes enhanced access to bespoke bereavement care.

Claire Braithwaite lead midwife for bereavement is extremely proud of the way in which this improvement work has been co-produced to fully reflect the voice of and feedback from families who have sadly experienced pregnancy and baby loss. She confirms that the introduction of the bereavement specialist nurse is only the start of the journey, and the team will continue to be co-designed and be responsive to the needs of its service users.

The national bereavement pathway 2016, the women’s health strategy (2021) and the pregnancy loss review 2023 all recommend that every woman who needs it should have access to bereavement support no matter the gestation. The introduction of a dedicated specialist nurse is the first step to improved care and is part of a wider long term improvement strategy for early pregnancy and bereavement services.  This new post will be part of the newly expanded trust wide seven day bereavement and tissue donation service at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.