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York Hospital helps breaks the silence on baby loss

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will be showing its support for Baby Loss Awareness week this October by turning the lights of York Hospital blue and pink, to help raise awareness and highlight the emotional impact of pregnancy and baby loss.

Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity for bereaved parents, and their families and friends, to unite with others across the world to commemorate their babies’ lives.

The purpose of the week is to raise awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK, and push for tangible improvements in services, support, research or policy around bereavement support.

The request to light up the hospital came from Annika Dowson who contacted the Trust’s chief executive, Patrick Crowley.  Annika, who lives in Helmsley with husband James and son Nathaniel, has long campaigned to raise awareness of the death of a baby after the couple’s daughter, Gypsy, was stillborn in 2008.

Stillbirth is more common than many people think.  There are more than 3,600 stillbirths every year in the UK and one in every 200 births ends in a stillbirth.  Eleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, making it 15 times more common than cot death.

Annika was also the inspiration behind the Snowdrop Appeal to provide a bereavement suite for parents at Scarborough Hospital.  More than £130,000 was raised through the appeal.  The maternity bereavement suite offers facilities for families who suffer a loss before or shortly after birth.

Annika explained:  “I am passionate about breaking the silence on stillbirth and baby loss.  My aim this year is to get buildings lit up to raise awareness of baby loss and in turn increase awareness of this taboo subject.  My hope is that while raising awareness, it also lets those who have been affected by child loss know that they are thought of and their children are not forgotten.

“I am delighted that the Trust has been able to show its support for this campaign.”

York Hospital will be lit in pink and blue from 9-15 October 2017, culminating on 15 October with the global ‘Wave of Light’.  On this date, families across the world are invited to take part by lighting a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least one hour to join in remembering all babies that have died too soon.

Elizabeth Ross, Head of Midwifery, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, added:  ‘We are committed to improving care and facilities for bereaved parents and we continue to work closely with York SANDS (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity) on this.

“This year they are focusing on improving bereavement care for people affected by pregnancy and baby loss.  In recognition and support of this we are delighted to say maternity services at the Trust have been successfully selected as a pilot site for implementing the new National Bereavement Care Pathway.  The aim is to ensure that all bereaved parents are offered equal, high quality, individualised, safe and sensitive care.”

05 October 2017

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