The first ever National Maternity Day is being held today to recognise the work being done by midwives and the need for good services for new mothers.
It has been launched by the National Maternity Support Foundation, which campaigns to ensure that every NHS Trust with a maternity unit offers specialist bereavement care.
The Foundation was established by Andrew Canter after his son Jake Canter was stillborn after the nearest hospital maternity unit was closed to admissions because it was too busy. The detour and delays cost him his life.
He said he hoped the national day of action, which has been backed by medical professionals and politicians, would leave a positive legacy after his son’s death.
Since the publication of its report, Who cares when you lose a baby? the charity has worked with several NHS Trusts who have now committed to employing a specialist bereavement midwife.
It is collaborating with the University of Chester to organise groundbreaking research into bereaved fathers views and experiences and also funding Jake’s Scholarships, awarded as part of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) annual midwifery awards.
“We have come a long way since Jake was stillborn and to have such a positive lasting legacy for him is fantastic,” said Mr Canter. “We are delighted to have excellent partners who give us huge support and inspiration to continue this important work for the benefit of others.”
Cathy Warwick, General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, welcomed the awareness day.
“This is a very valuable day which helps to raise awareness about the importance of maternity services, and how good quality maternity care can have a positive and long-lasting impact on mothers, babies and their families,” she said.
“It highlights the need for sustained investment in maternity services so that women using the service receive the safe and high quality service that they deserve.
“The RCM fully supports the valuable work of Andrew and Rachel through NMSF, Jake’s Charity, and I am enormously proud to be the charity’s lead patron.”
To support National Maternity Day, the charity has introduced a scheme to donate 100 per cent of funds towards Jake’s Scholarship programme. Visit www.justgiving.com/nationalmaternityday
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