I am delighted that the Scottish National Party (SNP) Scottish Government is seeking to do more to support families who experience the loss of a baby prior to 24 weeks, as new Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman MSP continues the excellent work of her predecessor, Shona Robison MSP, in this area.
Establishing procedures to allow grieving parents to register the loss of a baby prior to 24 weeks is an issue which is to be explored through a Focus Group which will include professionals and baby loss charities, including Sands, the stillbirth & neonatal death charity, SiMBA, Simpson's Memory Box Appeal, Antenatal Results & Choices and the The Miscarriage Association. This Group will seek to understand the effects of the current system and discuss possible options around voluntary registration.
As well as this the Scottish Government has provided funding to help the National Bereavement Care Pathway, led by SANDS, to be extended to Scotland.
The Scottish Government also established a Stillbirth Group in early 2011 which aims to raise awareness of stillbirth risk, reduce stillbirths and learn from reviews, and to promote bereavement support and information. This Group brings together health professionals and charities.
I have long campaigned for improvement in antenatal care and support for parents who suffer the worst loss imaginable - the loss of their child.
I am delighted that finally the issue of baby loss, around which there has been a silence for too long, is being prioritised by the Scottish Government in this way.