Marc Harder, Sands, National Bereavement Care Pathway Project, Lead
Marc Harder, National Bereavement Care Pathway Lead, Sands | 3 August 2017

I’m absolutely delighted that we were able to announce the 11 Wave 1 pilot sites for the National Bereavement Care Pathway Project yesterday.

It’s been a busy few weeks to get us to this point. I’m really grateful for the efforts of the project team and of course our colleagues in the 11 Trusts. We had so much interest and so many Trusts volunteering for Wave 1 that we had to disappoint a few colleagues along the way. However, we wanted to make sure we had the right mix of sites with which we could pilot the NBCP, and so some Trusts who are not in Wave 1 will be lined up to work with us in Wave 2.

When selecting the pilot sites we looked at a number of criteria, to make sure we had:

  • at least one Trust in each of the England regions
  • a group of pilot sites across a range of CQC ratings
  • at least one Trust in each of the five MBRRACE groupings (ranging from less than 2,000 births a year up to those Trusts with more than 4,000 with a NICU and neonatal surgery)
  • at least one site led by gynaecology, at least one led by a midwifery-led unit and at least one led by a neonatal team
  • at least one site which is also an early adopter site for the Maternity Transformation Programme, and at least one which is not
  • at least one multi-site Trust

As you can imagine that has meant some detailed work, and a hectic travel schedule. As ever, it has been great to get out and about. Wherever I go the enthusiasm for improving bereavement care for parents is abundantly evident, from midwives to chaplains, from mortuary technicians to sonographers.

We are looking forward to working with these 11 sites over the coming weeks ahead of the launch of the pilot in October, which we aim to tie in with Baby Loss Awareness Week. Watch this space! We are also already looking at the mix of sites for wave 2 of the pilot, scheduled for April next year, ahead of the wider national rollout we are aiming for in October 2018.

In the last month we have also appointed an evaluation partner, and will announce them once contracts have been signed. We are excited about assessing the impact and effectiveness of the NBCP over the coming months, evidencing improvements in bereavement care for parents. We’ve also started work on developing a training programme and a pathways and guidance document for the NBCP. We are so grateful for the involvement of so many partners in this collaboration.

Whilst I’m pleased with progress and excited by yesterday’s announcement, there is a huge amount of work ahead to prepare the relevant materials for the pilot sites to start using in October. So we won’t be resting on our laurels.

That said, it is the summer and I trust you all manage to get a relaxing break over the coming weeks.

Marc