Thank-you for taking the time to write to me about the important issue of baby loss in the UK.
This issue unfortunately affects many people, and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered miscarriages, stillbirths, or the loss of child. I applaud my colleagues who have recounted this difficult experience in their lives in Parliament to raise awareness of baby loss and inspire changes in policy to reduce the number of stillbirths in the UK, which is higher than in other similar countries.
I am absolutely committed to the Government’s ambition is to halve the rate of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths in England by 2025 with an aim of reaching a 20 per cent reduction by 2020.
I am thankful that the UK is one of the safest places in the world to give birth and safer than Canada, the US, France and New Zealand. Since 2010, the stillbirth rate has fallen by 25%.
But I pledge to you that we will go further. The Government has announced £95 million towards increasing the workforce in maternity units, to deliver 1200 additional midwives and 100 additional consultant obstetricians.
I firmly agree that all parents who experience pregnancy and baby loss and would like specialist psychological support should be able to access it. In view of this, I particularly welcome the commitment through the NHS Long Term Plan to increase mental health support funding by £2.3 billion per year by 2023/24. As part of this I know that care provided by specialist perinatal mental health services will be available from preconception to 24 months after birth.
As a Government Whip, I was unfortunately unable to participate in the debate, but you can be assured that I am doing all I can to ensure that mothers in South Derbyshire can have confidence that the NHS is the best place in the world to give birth.