Following the publication of a new report, Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), highlights how following the nine National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) bereavement care standards, will ensure that NHS Trusts and parents alike can be confident that excellent and equal bereavement care will be offered to all those affected by the death of a baby.
Along with all the partners in the NBCP collaboration, I am delighted to see the findings of the final evaluation report that was published this week. In particular it is reassuring to hear that the care received by newly bereaved parents from healthcare professionals in the wave 2 pilot sites has been sensitive, respectful and appropriate.
I am delighted that the RCOG has been involved in the development of the NBCP over the past two years, and in particular I am thrilled that we have seen improvements in care for those women and families who have suffered losses early in pregnancy, as often the focus in Trusts has been on babies who die at term or shortly afterwards.
The NBCP has enabled improvements by providing practical guidelines, standards, peer learning/ networking opportunities and training.
Caring for parents following the loss of their baby at any gestation is vital – and very challenging for obstetricians, gynaecologists and other professionals in busy units with limited resources. The RCOG is committed to helping doctors and other healthcare professionals get bereavement care right first time, and to work in partnership with other colleagues to learn from one another in terms of best practice in bereavement care. It is so encouraging that the evaluation has picked up the improvements in multi-disciplinary team-working and cooperation through the course of the pilot programme.
The NBCP collaboration set out with the aim of developing a pathway which enables high quality, sensitive and individualised bereavement care to be provided to parents when they need it most. And the evaluation clearly demonstrates this has taken place. By adopting the nine NBCP bereavement care standards, NHS Trusts and parents alike can be confident that excellent bereavement care will be implemented and embedded, reducing the inequality in care many have reported over the years.
I add my voice to those calling for the NBCP to be adopted across the country, and I encourage directors and other decision makers in NHS Trusts to get on board.
It has been proven to make a difference to families and I want to join my colleagues in thanking all those involved who have supported its development.