A midwife from North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust has won a prestigious award for her bereavement care service.
The Snowdrop Service run by bereavement specialist Michelle Lynch and other healthcare professionals from the Trust and was established two years ago. The bereavement care service was developed in close collaboration with bereaved parents and clinical staff, to provide a comprehensive and compassionate clinical service supporting families through childbearing bereavement and any subsequent pregnancies.
Midwife Michelle Lynch was presented with their award by Good Morning Britain news presenter Charlotte Hawkins at a glittering ceremony held at The Brewery in London earlier this week
The Sands Award for Bereavement Care is awarded to midwives, MSWs and maternity teams who have demonstrated a strong commitment to delivering excellent bereavement care and to those who have developed initiatives to improve bereavement care.
Over the past two years The Snowdrop Service has done this, it now offers mothers and families a postnatal appointment at home if preferred, they also run a fetal clinic supporting families with lethal pre-natal diagnoses and care-planning for meeting their baby, support 'surgeries' and monthly support coffee mornings for EPAU patients.
Deborah Wheeler, director of nursing and midwifery at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We are so proud of Michelle and the compassion, responsiveness and leadership she has demonstrated in developing our Snowdrop Service.
"The feedback we receive from families who have needed to use our bereavement service indicates that Michelle’s work and her personal dedication to this field is incredibly highly valued, and her ongoing commitment to continually improving the care and support available to families is a huge strength for the Trust and the services we provide for our local communities."
Gill Walton, chief executive and general secretary at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said: “I wish to congratulate Michelle for all the great work she has done in developing the Snowdrop Service. It is fantastic to see midwives and wider maternity care team responsively come together to establish a very important service driven by the needs of bereaved parents.
“One of the saddest events in life is to lose and child. It’s utterly devastating for parents and having the right care and support services in place is crucial. Its great to see that Michelle also hold educational training and encourages maternity staff to reflect upon emotional impacts of bereavement care she truly deserved this award."
Dr Clea Harmer, chief executive at Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said: “I am delighted that Michelle Lynch has been awarded the Sands award for excellence in bereavement care for the outstanding work of the Snowdrop Service.
“Every week in the UK, over 100 babies die just before, during or shortly after birth. The care that parents receive at this time is of crucial importance for their physical and mental health, both in the short and long term. Whilst no level of care can remove the grief that many parents will feel, good care can make a devastating experience feel more manageable.
“It is so important to recognise the work of midwives like Michelle who are able to offer the bereavement care that parents need and deserve. I would like to both congratulate Michelle and thank her for all the wonderful work that she does."