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Baby loss certificate launched to recognise and support parents' grief

PARENTS who have experienced the devastation of losing a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy can apply for a certificate to have their grief recognised. The Government on Thursday 22 February 2024 launched a new voluntary scheme to allow parents to record and receive a certificate to provide recognition of their loss. Parents can now access this free service .

The Government is committed to ensuring bereaved parents feel supported through their grief and recognise their loss, acknowledging their pain and ensuring they feel heard. The certificates will not be compulsory; it remains the choice of all parents to manage the difficult time of a loss, however they see fit.  

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said:- "Losing a baby can be a hugely traumatic event and the introduction of certificates to formally acknowledge the loss of life is a positive step towards better supporting women and parents affected. I'd like to thank charities and campaigners for their continuous work in bringing awareness to baby loss and making the certificates launching possible. Improving women's health care and maternity support is a priority, and this demonstrates progress in delivering our Women's Health Strategy and ensuring parents feel supported during this heart-breaking experience."  

Delivering on baby loss certificates was part of the Government's response to the independent Pregnancy Loss Review. The review was commissioned in 2018 to consider the registration and certification of pregnancy loss occurring before 24 weeks gestation and on the quality of care.    

The Review concluded that while it currently may not be possible to prevent many pre 24 week pregnancy losses from occurring, much more can be done to ensure each grieving parent receives excellent care and compassionate support.   

Improvement to maternity care and birth trauma support were announced as a priority area within the women's health strategy for England in 2024; a vital plan to improve the health and wellbeing of women and girls.

Minister for the Women's Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield said:- "We have listened to parents who have gone through what can be an unbelievably painful experience of losing a baby, and that is why today we are introducing baby loss certificates to recognise their loss, as part of our wider long-term plan for women's health in our country, the Women's Health Strategy. I would like to thank the tireless work of campaigners and charities for their work in supporting this agenda and making the certificates a reality."

To ensure all women get the support they need, the Government is investing £25 million in women's health hubs. Women's health hubs provide integrated services for women in the community, enabling easier access to essential services for menstrual health, contraception, pelvic pain, menopause care and more.  

Kate Brintworth, Chief Midwifery Officer for England, NHS England said:- "Compassionate and personalised care at every stage of pregnancy is vital, and I am pleased that women in England will now be able to access a baby loss certificate which recognises the impact and importance of early pregnancy loss to them and their families. The NHS is improving maternity and neonatal bereavement care across England, including by next month bereavement services will be available in almost every NHS Trust, 7 days a week for women and families who sadly experience loss."

Ruth Bender Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association, said:- "We warmly welcome the introduction of optional certificates for those who have experienced pregnancy or baby loss since September 2018, and we very much look forward to the scheme being extended to losses prior to that date as soon as possible. For many, if not most people, even the earliest of losses can be deeply distressing, both emotionally and physically. It means the loss not only of this pregnancy but also of the hopes, plans and dreams that they had for this new life. And having no formal acknowledgement or marker of their loss can compound their grief. The new certification scheme will make a genuinely positive difference to many who have experienced pregnancy or baby loss, offering formal recognition of the tiniest of lives."

The Government recognises the tireless work of campaigners who have spoken publicly about their experience with loss, and charities including Tommy's, Sands, the Miscarriage Association, and the Mariposa Trust; for continuing to raise awareness of this important issue.

Damien Moore MP welcomes 71% increase in Southport's GPs since September 2023

LOCAL Member of Parliament for Southport, Damien Moore, welcomes the 71% increase in doctors, nurses and other patient care staff working in General Practice in Southport since September 2023.

Announced by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), 2,000,000 additional GP appointments have been delivered per month to constituents across the UK since September 2023, with more than 25,700,000 appointments (excluding Covid19 vaccinations) being delivered since December 2023, an increase of 9% above pre-pandemic levels.

2,000,000 additional GP appointments have been delivered per month to constituents across the UK since September 2023, with
As part of the Government's successful administration of The Primary Care Access Plan (PCAP); launched in May 2023, Southport has received an increase of an additional 67 full-time equivalent (FTE) primary health care specialists, including: GPs, nurses, and direct patient care staff (DPC), since 2023; demonstrating a local capacity increase of over 71%.

The PCAP; adopted by 8-10 GP practices nationally, has successfully increased patient processing capacity by enhancing telephone booking operating systems, further supported by the Government's ‘Pharmacy First' scheme launched in January, 2024, with 10,000 pharmacies nationally now capable of treating 7 of the most frequent illnesses, including:- sinusitis, sore throat, earache, infected insect bite, impetigo, shingles, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women over the age of 65; projected to free up 10,000,000 GP appointments annually.

Commenting, Member of Parliament for Southport, Damien Moore, said:- "I welcome the news that both the PCAP and ‘Pharmacies First' programmes have increased the number of qualified health care professionals across Southport by over 70% since September 2023, increasing healthcare accessibility while reducing patient wait-times. Further supported by the £75 million direct investment into our Care Force Pathway; funding 37,000 Level 2 Adult Social Care (ASC) accredited qualifications, 116,000 ASC training courses and apprenceship, and increasing DHSC retention incentives across the UK, it's clear that Southport will remain a hub for high quality health, social and respite care."

North West prospective MPs urged to back urged to back new national care service, says UNISON

GENERAL Election candidates from all parties across the North West are being asked to support the creation of a new national care service in England.

The union says too many people in the North West cannot access the social care they desperately need because the current system is broken.

UNISON wants to see a new service based on high quality care and a fairly rewarded workforce. Although these changes wouldn't happen overnight, the union believes the reforms would put an end to 15-minute home care visits, long waits for care packages, and low wages for staff.

"A national care service would also mean the quality of care is of the same high standard, no matter where it was being provided,"
says UNISON.

Wages would also be boosted with a new fair pay agreement, lifting care jobs off minimum wage rates and standardising salaries across England.

This would allow care companies to start filling the huge 152,000 vacancies hole in the sector's workforce, says UNISON.

A national care service would also assist families trying to find out more about the level of care provision on offer locally. The union says that trying to navigate the current system to secure any kind of support can be confusing, complicated, and stressful.

Labour has already pledged to create a national care service and a new fair pay agreement for care workers if the party forms the next Government.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting was the 1st politician to show his support by signing UNISON's pledge card for the service. 

Now the union is calling on every candidate who has been selected to stand in English Parliamentary seats at the next general election to sign up too.

UNISON Regional Secretary Lynne Morris said:- "Social care is broken. The current fragmented and privatised system is unfit to meet the needs of everyone who needs support. But a better way is possible. Care workers are the beating heart of a system that should be able to look after everyone's loved ones with compassion and kindness. But without the cash or sufficient staff, the sector is struggling to deliver, putting unbearable pressure on the NHS and families. If the North West is to have a care service of which it can be truly proud, care workers must be valued, recognised and rewarded as the skilled professionals they are. That requires radical change. Too many families are suffering because they can't access the support they need and because care isn't seen as the priority it should be by the current Government. It's in everyone's best interest, no matter how old they are, that England has a national care service. That's why it's so important for all the North West's Parliamentary candidates to publicly pledge their support."

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