Has the Minister considered recommendation 7.55 of the Review of Maternity Services at Cwm Taf Health Board, and will he commit to improving the quality of bereavement care across Wales?
I have made it clear that I expect NHS Wales to learn from the findings and recommendations of the maternity review at Cwm Taf Health Board. Such learning will inform our commitment to ensuring that bereavement support services are available to everyone.
There has been collaborative work with third sector agencies such as the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity SANDs and 2 Wish upon a Star providing training, information for families, developing appropriate environments. The Maternity Network has linked with SANDs to develop and pilot a new care pathway and standards. The principles of the care pathway have been adopted within the new All Wales Bereavement Standards. All maternity services in Wales now have a bereavement pathway and an identified bereavement lead in place.
As part of our role to support bereavement support services, we enhance health board bereavement provision by supporting national projects and initiatives. We acknowledge that more can be done in this area which is why we are working with the End of Life Care Board, Marie Curie and Cardiff University to review the level of bereavement services across Wales and to consider what further support can be provided to help to deal with such a tragic experience. The review which is expected to be completed by the end of October, will map existing support, ranging from signposting through to specialist counselling, and identify areas where further resourcing is needed.
The Bereavement Support Working Group which was established this year will consider the evidence from the review and identify what can be done to further support families who are dealing with the devastating loss of a baby in Wales.