Maternity Review Consultation

As part of the review of maternity services currently being held by the NHS Maternity Review, an online questionnaire has been created for parents who experienced complications in pregnancy, neonatal admission after their baby’s birth, or whose baby died at any point during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

If you received care from an NHS England maternity unit and would like to share your views on the services you received you can do so through this online questionnaire. The survey has been developed in partnership with Sands and Bliss.

Views will be treated as confidential. The survey closes on 30 November 2015.

More information about the Maternity Review can be found at

Urgent Call For Volunteers

After leading South East London Sands for more than 15 years, Julia and Tracey now feel it is time for them to step down. We are immensely grateful to them for the time and energy they have devoted to supporting bereaved families in south east London.

To continue providing this support, we now need more volunteers to train as befrienders, who will lead and facilitate the monthly support group meetings on a rota basis.

Sands will provide training, and Julia and Tracey have committed to support and mentor new befrienders during a transitionary period in early 2016. Meanwhile, a steering group is planning the future direction of SEL Sands.

If you are interested in supporting bereaved families by becoming a befriender, please contact us for further details by Saturday 14 November. Please do consider taking on this valuable role, as the monthly support group may have to be withdrawn unless enough volunteers come forward.

2015 Sands / Bliss / RCM Conference

The seventh annual joint Sands, Bliss and Royal College of Midwives Conference on Uncertainty and Loss in Maternity and Neonatal Care will take place on 17th September, 2015.

Along with professionals from a range of health roles, this conference is open for anyone to attend – you can apply to attend the conference here.

Teardrop Sticker Survey

The Improving Bereavement Care Team at Sands is currently working to develop an electronic version of the Sands Teardrop Sticker for medical notes. These stickers have been developed as a notification system for parents’ medical notes following the death of their baby. The sticker is intended to alert healthcare professionals to the parent’s loss in order to avoid distressing situations and inappropriate questions during follow up appointments and subsequent pregnancies.
Sands are looking for bereaved parents to spend five minutes where possible for their input to aid the development of this resource.
The survey can be accessed here 

Campaigning for Sands Room at Lewisham hospital

One of our members recently found out that the funding for a SANDS room at Lewisham Hospital has been in place for years but they have decided for whatever reason that it is not a priority. Considering one bereaved couple raised £11,000 by themselves she was really shocked and upset to hear this. She wrote to the chief executive of Lewisham Hospital and Heidi Alexander to express her concerns and ask them to look into the matter. She is hoping that a few more people will also write to him/both of them, this might push Lewisham into actually doing something.

This is what she says to Sands parents…

Hi everyone,

I’m … my daughter …..was stillborn on the 30th of June last year in Lewisham. If you also had your (stillborn) baby there you will have had to endure giving birth in a regular room on the labour ward because Lewisham doesn’t have a SANDS room specifically for such circumstances. A couple of weeks ago I discovered that the money for a SANDS room is in fact in place and has been for quite some time. Apparently turning the room they have earmarked into a SANDS room is just not a priority for them despite it being constantly raised at meetings by a number of people who understand the importance of the hospital having one.

I think this is disgusting especially as many bereaved parents have raised money to pay for it. I am hoping that you will feel the way I do and want something done about this. I thought I would write to the chief executive and explain the distress I feel about this situation and also explain the positive effect I believe having that room would have had on our terrible experience of losing our daughter. I hope that some of you will also consider doing this.

Those of you who did have the experience of a SANDS room at another hospital might think about writing to him to say how you feel having had access to that facility. I am also, as a constituent of Heidi Alexander going to write to her to see if she can put any pressure on them to move the project forward.

I would really appreciate any of you also writing to him, you never know maybe it will help to push them to finally do the right thing. His address is below.

Tim Higginson
Chief Executive
University Hospital Lewisham
Lewisham High Street
SE13 6LH

Many thanks

If anyone would like to write and would like to see the letter she wrote, please email

Thanks for your support.

Why 17? Campaign

Incredibly, every day in the UK, 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth.

For the devastated parents, family and friends the question is simply why?

Why did their precious and much wanted baby die?   

At Sands we ask the same simple question, why?

Why are so many babies born dead every year?

Why do some babies die in the very first weeks of their young lives?

Imagine for a moment how that feels for those left behind. Every baby is special – the bond between parent, family and baby begins long before birth.

You can feel a baby moving in the womb, watch it grow, imagine what sort of person he or she might become, dream of the future.  Love is there very early on. The impact of the death of a baby ripples out to everyone involved.

“One of the hardest things is not knowing why.  I am a logical person and I know I could accept it if I could understand it.  It has taken me almost a year to accept that we will not find an answer.”

Sands knows that much more could be done to prevent these tragic and cruel deaths.

On 13th June 2008 Sands Why 17? campaign was officially launched to try to find answers to some of these questions. To find out more visit

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