In December 2009 we launched a campaign to ensure that bereaved parents continue to be offered choice about seeing and holding their baby after death.

The need for a campaign arose because current guidance issued by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) to midwifery units and to bereaved parents on seeing and holding a baby after he or she has died may be open to misinterpretation. Sands is concerned that the recommendation to which this relates could imply that choice is being removed from parents over whether they see and hold their baby after death. 

We met with Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive of NICE, and her team on Wednesday 27 January 2010 to outline in depth these concerns and to voice disquiet about the research the original guideline was based on. Dr Leng confirmed that the NICE guidance encourages patient-centred care which takes account of the woman’s individual needs and preferences. With this in mind, NICE agreed to clarify the intended meaning of the recommendation on seeing and holding the stillborn baby and, in line with regular practice, will revisit the guideline when it is next due to be updated and review any new evidence at that time.

We have been assured that the charity will be included as a stakeholder in future discussions about this issue.

We will continue to issue updates on the Seeing and Holding Campaign at regular intervals.