Decision Maker Response
Vaughan Gething AM’s response
Jun 7, 2018 — Ein cyf/Our ref VG/01696/18
6 June 2018
Dear Ms Evans,
Thank you for your update on the Change.org petition in relation to ‘women in Wales deserve better miscarriage support from the Welsh Government’.
Miscarriage at any stage of pregnancy represents the loss of a baby and the hopes and dreams held. It is a time of bereavement that affects the whole family and in respect of this we are committed to ensuring the best services for women and families.
Early miscarriage often occurs either at home or within gynaecology services. Support would be provided by primary care and signposting to relevant support organisations, such as the Miscarriage Association https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/ would be provided at this time. There would also be outreach from community midwifery services if the woman is already under their care.
In the event of late miscarriage, bereavement support would be provided by local maternity services. Health boards in Wales have been working proactively to ensure that bereavement services are in place.
On 28 March 2017, the Maternity Network launched a year long campaign to reduce stillbirth and improve maternal health called ‘Safer Pregnancy’. This campaign included nine health messages that appeared in social media, posters and on plastic folders used to contain the midwifery handheld records. The messages were based on:
• What the mother can do: staying active, eating well, attending appointments
• What the midwife can do to support mothers: stopping smoking, stopping drinking alcohol, stopping taking drugs
• What women should talk to their midwife about: preventing infections, her baby’s movements, any worries she has.
This campaign is now in the process of being formally evaluated to see how effective messaging in this way is with mothers and midwives.
On 9 October 2017, I opened a seminar held by Consultant Midwives Cymru to present the findings of the ‘Your Birth, We Care’ survey, to explore women’s experiences of pregnancy and birth in Wales. The survey aimed to evaluate women’s views of antenatal services and how current service provisions can prepare women for labour, birth and parenting. This is currently being used as the basis to develop a vision for the future maternity services in Wales that should be published later this year.
Stillbirth and miscarriage can be devastating for the baby's parents and for the wider family members. That is why each health board in Wales has its own bereavement service which supports not only the parents but wider family members.
Should you wish to discuss this further and link with the leads for this area within Welsh Government I would suggest you contact Karen Jewell, a Nursing Officer (Maternity and Early Years) within the Chief Nursing Officer’s team who would be happy to meet you. Her email address is Karen.email@example.com.
I hope this is helpful.
Vaughan Gething AC/AM
Ysgrifennydd y Cabinet dros Iechyd a Gwasanaethau Cymdeithasol
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services