Today the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will announce that families who suffer the trauma of stillbirth, death or life changing injuries to their babies at the end of pregnancy will be offered an independent investigation to find out what went wrong and why.

He will also announce that he will look into enabling coroners to investigate full-term stillbirths to help give parents answers and resolution when something has gone wrong.

The Government will also bring from 2030 to 2025 the ambition to halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries occurring during or soon or after birth. This is something that Sands has called for, and aligns closely with our strategic objectives.

Dr Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands, said:

“The Government’s ruling that all notifiable cases of stillbirth and neonatal death in England will now receive an independent investigation by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) is a step change that has the potential to save more babies' lives.

“This external investigation of deaths also has the potential to improve local reviews into why a baby died. For too long, parents have not been consulted and lessons have not been learned despite research repeatedly finding that many deaths are preventable and are related to the quality of care mothers and babies receive.

“Parents must be assured of a high quality investigation with their voices at the heart of any review into the death of their baby. This will require leadership at each NHS Trust commit to learning from every death in an open and honest way, and NHS staff must have the support, training, and time to conduct reviews rigorously.”

Read the announcement from the Department of Health.