In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan shares a local resident's touching story during Baby Loss Awareness Week and calls for more support in local health services.
This week marks Baby Loss Awareness Week, a time to think about the families that have suffered through the tragedy of losing a child and what more can be done to help.
Recently, Parliament debated the issue in what was a very moving occasion. A local resident, Ciara Curran, asked me to share her story.
Ciara lost her baby daughter Sinead in April 2010 due to pre-term pre-labour rupture of the membranes (PPROM). This condition is when the waters break before 37 weeks of pregnancy, putting mother and baby at risk of infection.
After such a devastating loss, Ciara went on to set up an organisation called Little Heartbeats to help women who have lost a baby to PPROM and to ensure that pregnant mothers receive the best possible care if diagnosed with that condition. The organisation has received several awards for the work that they do.
It is amazing to see someone who has dealt with such loss respond with tremendous courage and compassion.
In the debate, I shared Ciara’s story and paid tribute to the work of Little Heartbeats. I also used my speech to make the case for greater investment in our local health services, including a new maternity unit and antenatal clinic at Tameside Hospital.
The current maternity unit at Tameside has poor insulation and problems with overheating that affects sensitive clinical equipment, including incubators for new-born babies. Capital investment is badly needed to deliver better care for mothers and babies by ensuring that this specialist clinical equipment is not overworked.
We also need to invest more in our dedicated NHS staff. The Royal College of Midwives estimates that maternity services are experiencing a shortage of 2,000 midwives and many have considered leaving the profession.
It is vital that midwifery benefits from the Government’s recently announced £36 billion package of support for the health and social care system.
Bereaved parents also need better access to specialist psychological support through the NHS and prenatal nurses need the right training to help parents who experience baby loss.
If we are going to meet the Government’s national maternity safety ambition to see baby deaths fall by 50 per cent by 2025, then more action is clearly needed. I will continue to push for this down in Westminster.