Published on: 9 October 2023

Everyone is affected by early baby loss. Even those who have not personally experienced it will know of a relative, a friend, a work colleague or an acquaintance who has.PXL_20230714_094324182.PORTRAIT.ORIGINAL.jpg

And that’s why we’re so proud of our Bereavement Lead Midwife Sam Collinge, who championed the experiences of bereaved parents as the co-chair and author of the Government's Independent Pregnancy Loss Review which was published earlier this year.

“Pre-24-week pregnancy loss is often minimised and seen as a clinical event or ‘just one of those things’ which can be extremely isolating and can significantly impact the emotional and psychological wellbeing of women and their families,” Sam said

“The Pregnancy Loss Review and its findings offer a real opportunity to change this culture and I feel enormously privileged to have been invited to co-lead this piece of work.

“Leading the review involved listening to bereaved parents often traumatic experiences and trying to put them into a workable UK-wide strategy for best practice.

“I have to thank and pay tribute to the courage of the bereaved parents who so freely shared with us their often harrowing stories of loss through their desire to see and bring about change.

“It was hard to hear, but I’d heard many similar stories where people going through extremely tragic events were let down by healthcare services. 

“If anything, doing this report, and hearing these stories was empowering because it meant I was able to make a difference. We started by asking: ‘What does great care look like, how can we change this experience for everyone?’.”

The Review, published in July 2023, sets out a vision for improving the care of people who experience pre-24-week baby loss.

Sam’s involvement in this review comes 40 years after stepping into the NHS as a Student Nurse and 25 years after being appointed as a Bereavement Midwife – one of the first roles of its kind - in 1998. 

She has spent the majority of her career caring for bereaved parents at the most difficult time in their lives and has been championing improving bereavement care for anyone who experiences baby loss on a local and national level.

But her passion for this vital piece of work hasn’t solely come from her career.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of my first miscarriage,” Sam added.

“To this day, I still remember in vivid detail how utterly devastated my husband and I were at the loss of our first baby. Yet what was more shocking was there was a total disregard for the emotional impact the miscarriage had on us and how our loss was minimised, being treated merely as a ‘clinical event and not a baby.

“At no point did anyone ask me or my husband how we were feeling emotionally .”

The Review, commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care in England (DHSC), makes 73 recommendations which are intended to support the government and the NHS in creating a forward-looking approach to improve the safety and care experience for all those who have a pre-24-week baby loss.

The recommendations fit broadly into three areas: 

  • Providing better information to families. 

  • The pooling of the available services.

  • Better training of medical staff. 

If you would like to read the review, visit the website here.