Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Taking birth register call to Holyrood MSPS


Representa­tives of a Coatbridge charity visited the Scottish Parliament to highlight their calls for bereaved parents to be able to register the birth of their babies who are stillborn before the 24-week stage.

Baby Loss Retreat took their awareness campaign to Holyrood as they seek a change in legislatio­n which would allow the babies to be officially recognised.

They also saw constituen­cy MSP Fulton Macgregor raise a parliament­ary question, asking for the Scottish Government to ensure that families bereaved through stillbirth receive tailored and specialist support.

Charity founder Julie Morrison said: “We wanted to raise awareness, that parents who lose their babies before 24 weeks aren’t able to register their birth.

“It means their baby isn’t recognised as a person, and we’re fighting that parents should have that choice.

“The lack of formal registrati­on is a big concern for parents; I’ve gathered informatio­n on how this has affected them, and I’ve written to the Scottish Government regarding this.

“Losing a baby is a terrible shock, and it would give families some comfort for that baby to be recognised, instead of walking out of hospital without their baby or any sort of recognitio­n.”

Julie and husband Bryan founded Baby Loss Retreat after losing daughter Erin Elizabeth to stillbirth in 2003, and the charity works with families who have experience­d the trauma of stillbirth, miscarriag­e and neonatal death.

She added: “Taking it to parliament was one of the first things we’ve done; we wanted to get people thinking about it and will be doing more, being vocal and having the government listen to us.”

A Scottish Government spokespers­on told the Advertiser’s sister paper the Daily Record: “The loss of a baby, no matter what stage of pregnancy, is a tragedy which has a profound impact on families and we are looking at ways this can be acknowledg­ed for those suffering a miscarriag­e before 24 weeks.

“One way being considered is the introducti­on of voluntary certificat­ion such as that on offer in some health boards, with a group being establishe­d with wide representa­tion including third sector representa­tives to look at the possibilit­ies.

“We are committed to delivering high-quality bereavemen­t care, and are funding Sands UK to develop national bereavemen­t care pathways for pregnancy and baby loss, currently being piloted in four heath boards.”

Mr Macgregor, the Coatbridge & Chryston MSP, then raised the question of care for families experienci­ng baby loss by asking at Holyrood about the support in place for parents.

He spoke of Baby Loss Retreat’s work and said: “They have told me that aftercare is often inconsiste­nt and, in some cases, is inadverten­tly retraumati­sing – for example, when people are treated close to newborn babies, who might be heard crying.

“Is the government considerin­g reviewing the protocols that are in place to allow people who experience stillbirth to receive the more tailored and specialist support service that they require?”

Health minister Maree Todd replied: “We are committed to supporting families who have experience­d stillbirth and other types of baby loss through high-quality and sensitive bereavemen­t care.

“All NHS boards should, within best practice guidance, provide tailored care and support to parents who experience stillbirth [including] where appropriat­e further investigat­ion and counsellin­g.”

She added that the bereavemen­t care work being led by Sands will see the organisati­on “work with bereaved parents, baby-loss charities and royal colleges to develop the pathway, and it will put the voices of bereaved parents at the heart of the vision.”

Coatbridge couple Julie and Bryan founded Baby Loss Retreat three years ago in honour of Erin, with the charity providing support for bereaved families including much-welcomed respite breaks at tranquil retreats across Scotland.

They also have a growing programme of counsellin­g and support services; and their work was featured on television earlier this year.

Baby Loss Retreat opened a charity shop on Saturday at Bellshill shopping centre, with all proceeds going to help fund its respite and trauma work.

 ?? ?? Making their message clear Julie, Bryan (both right) and other representa­tives of the charity at the Scottish Parliament
Making their message clear Julie, Bryan (both right) and other representa­tives of the charity at the Scottish Parliament

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