Researchers have estimated that approximately 500 babies die each year due to avoidable factors during birth. Many more are also left permanently brain damaged or disabled. Many of these tragic deaths and injuries could be avoided with better care.
The overarching aims of the campaign are as follows:
1. To raise awareness of the high incidence of birth injury and stillbirth within the UK
2. To campaign for improvements in the safety of maternity services within the UK
3. To campaign for Coroner involvement in certain stillbirths to highlight substandard care
4. To campaign for Birth Certificates for all babies registered as stillborn
5. To provide information to those who have suffered poor care and negligence in childbirth
The Campaign has a Facebook page which can be accessed here
Michelle and Nicky are parent representatives on various national & regional projects and committees including:
Regional Maternity Clinical Network
The law relating to Coroners:
At present it is not within the Coroners legal jurisdction to investigate stillbirths, even if they happen at term and negligence is suspected. This stops Coroners from becoming involved even if they have serious concerns about a death or about the care being given in a particular unit. The Campaign for Safer Births has made contact with all Senior Coroners to explain and promote the need for Coroner involvement in stillbirths that happen in term labour. They have the support of many Coroners and have also met with the Chief Coroner and the previous Secretary of State for Justice.
Other achievements to date:
Prior to starting the Campaign for Safer Births both Nicky and Michelle had campaigned individually. Michelle is a campaigning voice for Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity) and went to the Houses of Parliament as part of a Sands presentation. Michelle has been interviewed by The Independent on Sunday, Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio Northampton, BBC Look East and others on the subject of midwife numbers and birth certificates for stillborn babies.
Nicky was in correspondence with the Dept of Health about improving labour ward staffing levels and also querying Coroners rules. Nicky has also presented at a number of NHS training events about the experience of being a parent of a child with significant health needs and palliative care.
Since being introduced and starting the Campaign for Safer Births in early 2013 Michelle and Nicky have set up a Facebook page to build awareness and support. They have also been in regular contact with the Dept of Health, NHS England, local MP’s, local Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Chief Coroner.
Michelle was featured in a Sunday Times article 'If only he'd been born in the daytime' - supporting the Sunday Times campaign for increased Consultant presence. Michelle also gave a powerful interview about her experience on BBC Radio 4 World at One. Michelle appeared in the documentary film 'Stilloved' and in January 2016 featured in the Times article 'The truth about Britain's stillbirth scandal'. Michelle has been working closely with Chris Heaton Harris MP on the issue of inquests for term babies that are stillborn during labour.
Nicky has been involved in projects within her local region reviewing and improving local maternity services and data reporting. Nicky has been a patient representative on three projects being run by the Cheshire & Merseyside (now North West Coast) Clinical Network for Maternity. Nicky was also a patient representative on the NHS England Women’s Patient Safety Group which met quarterly and included representatives from the Royal Colleges, CQC, NHS Litigation Authority and others.
The campaign is in its early days, however they have already been able to offer help and guidance to others affected who contacted them via the Facebook site and also hope that they have already raised the profile of the issues.
Please see the page 'How you can support us' to help the campaign.