Wednesday 18th January, saw Sands launch its major new report : Preventing Babies’ Deaths: what needs to be done at the House of  Commons to a packed Member’s Dining Room, where over 70 MPs and 150 other guests, including key researchers, clinicians, health officials, member of Royal Colleges and Heads of major charities, joined Sands parents, supporters and staff for the launch.

The event was hosted by Dr Dan Poulter, MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity, and member of the Commons Health Select Committee, who welcomed the assembled guests before handing over to Sands Chief Executive, Neal Long.

In his address Neal focused on the key areas of the new report, in particular the main issues contributing to the UK’s persistently high stillbirth rate and our recommendations on what needs to be done to prevent deaths in the future.

Colin Pidgeon, a Sands parent, then shared his incredibly moving story of the stillbirth of his daughter Daisy, powerfully illustrating the real and devastating impact a baby’s death has.  

Anne Milton, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health concluded the presentations, by reiterating her support for Sands and the work the charity is doing, particularly in the arena of stillbirth prevention. She particularly called on all those present to raise awareness of stillbirth, to raise the profile of this issue; in order to ensure the support that is need to improve maternity services and the delivery of care.

Sands is looking forward to working with Anne and her officials at the Department of Health, at a stillbirth workshop, to be held in the Spring. A wide range of experts, including bereaved parents will work together to brainstorm what really needs to be done to stop babies dying.

Many of the MPs who attended the event, met with their local constituents, Sands parents who had travelled from all over the UK to highlight the real human impact of stillbirth and neonatal death and to demand change.

 Throughout the day the media also highlighted the launch of the report,  with widespread coverage achieved across the BBC and ITV, as well as the national press, including: The Sun, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mirror and Independent to name but a few. The story was also widely picked up by regional radio and press across the length and breadth of the UK, with Sands spokespeople being interviewed on over 30 radio stations, and the report featuring in over 100 regional papers. Please follow the link to view some of the coverage

With such a positive response to the new report, we intend to keep up the momentum and will appreciate anything that can be done to keep stillbirth and neonatal death in the spotlight. We are developing a 12 month campaigning plan that we will circulate in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we want as many people as possible to read our new report. If you’re a member of a local Group, or are a general supporter of Sands, please do send a link to this report to your local maternity unit and local MP. Your MP can also pledge his/her support for Sands by signing our Early Day Motion, www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2599.

 If you would like a template letter to send with the link, please register as a Sands Campaigning Voice and we will arrange this for you.

To download a copy of the report, please follow the link.