Sadly, in 2017, there were 2,873 stillbirths in England and Wales.
Whilst this number is in annual decline and has been since the 1980s, there are questions around whether more can be done to help minimise this number of tragic fatalities.
Whilst robust processes and systems are in place to identify possible causes of still birth and review the care that has been provided throughout the pregnancy, a consultation has now been launched in relation to a proposal to introduce an investigation by a coroner in instances of still birth.
The consultation which has been rolled out jointly by the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health and Social Care aims to further reduce the number of stillbirths, to ensure that where lessons have been learnt, necessary changes are implemented and to provide parents of still born infants with the answers to questions they may have following such a personal tragedy.
The Ministry of Justice is inviting feedback and views on the proposal from anyone with an interest in stillbirth, particularly people who have sadly lost a baby to stillbirth, organisations working with bereaved parents and healthcare professionals via https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/coronial-investigations-of-stillbirths/ by 18th June 2019.
Olivia Honaker, Clinical Negligence Solicitor commented:
“The proposed powers for coroners to investigate stillbirths would allow the cause of death to be investigated and recommendations made to reduce the number of stillbirths. Typically it is fundamentally important for bereaved parents after tragedies such as this, firstly to gain answers to understand why something happened and secondly to see that action is taken to prevent the same thing happening to another family. It is hoped that the proposed powers will go further than the existing process in achieving this.”
If you have been effected by stillbirth, SANDS charity can provide support via their helpline on 0808 1643332.
If you would like to speak to a member of the Price Slater Gawne team in complete confidence, please contact 0161 6155554.