NICE demands dedicated miscarriage services
Today, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice)
has recommended the launch of an NHS-run service
available seven days a week to women at risk of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage
. The new report also recommends a 24-hour helpline
for those who experience bleeding or pain in their first trimester.
Stephanie Forman, medical negligence and stillbirth expert at Simpson Millar solicitors welcomed the proposals. She said:
"The death of an infant
before birth is a true bereavement
. Coupled with this in some circumstances the mother has to go through her labour knowing that her child will be born dead, and this can be compounded by the insensitivity of nursing and hospital staff placing the mother before and after the birth in a room within the maternity unit so that she hears and smells other newborns
"I've seen many mothers who have had a text book pregnancy only to lose their child at full term
. There seems to be little regard for the fact that the scans and consequent photographing of the foetus intensifies the mother's bond
with it as a real person; in most pregnancies now the sex of the child is known and clothing purchased."
"The one key fact which comes across is the lack of explanation and bereavement counselling
. If mothers and their partners/families were given a full explanation from a trained bereavement counsellor of the circumstances which gave rise to the death then their profound feelings of grief, anger and search for blame may be eased
"Bereavement counselling may be offered but is frequently not followed up
by the mother because of its proximity to the maternity unit to which many mothers simply won't want to return
. There is also the fact that GPs and health visitors sometimes consider the mother has depression
and fail to recognise a pathological grief reaction, so there is no treatment offered to the mother."
"Many mothers who are offered anti-depressants refuse medication and would clearly benefit from Counselling by trained personnel
who can explain what happened. Most mothers cannot afford to visit a specialist therapist in the private sector and many may not even realise they have a pathological grief reaction
"Money must be invested in this type of treatment if we are to avoid problems with mothers suffering pathological grief reactions and future psychological problems. The need for bereavement counselling was recognised as being of significance by the Retained Organ Commission
in 2001 and by the Redfern Inquiry
into to Alder Hey during the same year; in the latter case it was recommended that bereavement counsellors be appointed
in maternity/neonatal wards."