BWC’s pioneering baby loss policy is given national approval | News

BWC’s pioneering baby loss policy is given national approval

A pioneering support package for staff experiencing baby loss, which was first launched at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, is being rolled out across the country.

Our Trust announced a new pregnancy and baby loss policy in 2021 detailing support, including periods of paid leave, for families who are suffering from baby loss or who have had a premature birth.

Clinicians and leaders from BWC have been supporting national decision-makers to ensure all Trusts across the country can now adopt their own version of the policy so that colleagues across the NHS can have the time and space to process, grieve and begin to heal at a time when they need it most.

The outside of Birmingham Women's Hospital

Rachel Carter, Director of Midwifery and Deputy Chief Nurse (Women’s), said: “We care for many women and families every year at our Women’s Hospital who are living with the grief of losing their much-wanted baby through miscarriage. We are delighted that this policy has been adopted by so many other Trusts and we welcome the additional support for our colleagues in the NHS and encourage other Trusts and employers to adopt it.”

Janet Ballintine, Staffside Lead and Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Activist, said: “The RCM and Staffside were a joint partner in developing this policy at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s and ensuring this paid leave is available to all staff members who need it, at an incredibly difficult time of their lives. We welcome the national interest in the policy and encourage NHS Trusts to work with their local JCNC’s to adopt this policy for their own organisations.”

Since its introduction across BWC three years ago, the policy has offered up to ten days paid leave for the person who was pregnant and up to five days paid leave for the partner. In addition, staff are also offered paid time off for appointments linked to pregnancy loss, and have a promise that all requests to work flexibly following a bereavement are treated with understanding and sensitivity.

The outside of Birmingham Children's Hospital with flowers in front

Over the past year, Raffaela Goodby, Chief People Officer at BWC, has led a national project with stakeholders such as HR leads, trade unions, NHS staff, The Miscarriage Association and Tommy’s Charity to develop policy frameworks which can be adopted by other Trusts.

Raffaela Goodby said: “I hope this national policy to support mothers and parents with love and compassion at a terrible time in their employment is welcomed across the NHS and drives positive change across the UK.

“Structured support at work for people experiencing miscarriage can have a life-long impact on the people involved. I hope heart-led policies like this become the norm for the NHS and I am grateful to Staffside, NHS England, Tommy’s and The Miscarriage Association for their energy and support.”

Our Trust continues to increase awareness of pregnancy loss, something that is still a taboo in society. In February this year, a new, dedicated pregnancy and baby loss centre – Woodland House – was opened at our Women’s Hospital. A first of its kind in a UK hospital setting, the charitably-funded centre will be a safe haven for families experiencing the heartbreak of loss, allowing families to grieve in private, away from the busy main hospital.


Kath Abrahams, Chief Executive of Tommy’s, the baby loss and pregnancy research charity, welcomed the news and said: “We’re proud to have worked with the team at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust since they became members of our Pregnancy and Parenting at Work programme in 2021.

“Their pioneering policy has significantly improved support for staff who experience pregnancy loss at the Trust, where Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research carries out so much of its work.

“Pregnancy loss can take a huge toll on women and birthing people, both physically and mentally. Their partners may also be profoundly affected.

“As the largest employer in the UK, the NHS is sending a powerful signal that staff going through this experience deserve understanding, compassion and the right to grieve – and that support is possible, no matter what your workplace looks like.

“We know what a difference it makes when this kind of policy is embedded and implemented effectively across organisations of all sizes, including NHS Trusts.”

We have placed cookies on your computer to help make this website better. You can at any time read our cookie policy. Otherwise, we will assume that you're OK to continue.

Please choose a setting: