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In 2013 in the UK, one in every 137 babies was either stillborn or died in the first 4 weeks of life

Here in N. Ireland, over 3 babies a week are stillborn or die in the first 4 weeks of life.

We support all bereaved parents who have lost their babies, before, during or shortly after birth.

Antrim Hospital visit

Claire & Sara from Antrim Sands were invited to meet some of the staff at Antrim hospital after meeting Elizabeth Osbourne at the Snowdrop Walk.
They arranged a meeting for 25th Feb and were warmly welcomed. Sara & Claire said: "We met with Gwyneth Peden, Northern trust Bereavement Co-ordinator and Helen Weir Midwife Manager, to try to establish contact between the Antrim Sands Group and the local hospital. As Claire so nicely put it we wanted to be the face behind the memory boxes. Gwyneth explained her role in the trust and about the Book of Remembrance and the Remembrance Service and the Snowdrop Walk. She deals with all bereavements in the Trust and helps outline the policies and procedures. Gwyneth also asked us for feedback of services received from the bereaved parents we come into contact with. We talked about the possibility of having a room for parents of stillbirths to use to have time alone with their baby as Antrim does not have this facility. Both ladies were very supportive of this idea as at the minute there isn’t even a sofa as the room that is used is on the delivery suite and is dual function. We discussed the involvement of the Coroner in stillbirth cases and the fact that police may interview bereaved parents while they are in the hospital. I asked if parents were still able to hold their babies and to get hand and foot prints and was reassured that this will always be the case. All post mortems are still carried out by a paediatric pathologist team in Belfast whether the Coroner is involved or not. We also met Shona Hamilton who sits on the Maternity Services Committee for the hospital. We asked her about the possibility of sitting on this committee and she said she was meeting the chair and vice chair and would mention to them that we were keen to be involved. Shona used to work in the Ulster hospital and said we may be able to meet with Hilary the bereavement midwife who was involved in their new Bereavement Suite with the charity Forget-me-not. Antrim Hospital and the Northern Trust does not have a specialist bereavement midwife, all three professionals agreed that there was a need for this. We exchanged contact details with all three but it was agreed that any parents who asked about Sands are still referred to the helpline and the regional office as first contact points". Now that we've established contact with Antrim hospital, we will continue to develop this link and will work to improve the care given to parents, hopefully through the provision of a bereavement room/suite. We are drafting a letter to the Coroner's Office to ask for clarification on the role of the PSNI in cases referred to the Coroner's Office and to offer training to PSNI officers involved in these cases.