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NHS trusts urged to provide paid miscarriage leave

NHS England have announced that staff who tragically experience a miscarriage will be granted up to 10 days paid leave to grieve their loss.

Hailed as a major step towards wider recognition of the trauma of miscarriage, NHS England announced this week that staff, who lose their baby before 24 weeks, will be given paid leave to help support them through the trauma.

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In addition, women will also be able to take further paid time off after a miscarriage for medical examinations, scans or other tests, or to receive mental health support, as well as the two-week grieving period.

If the partners of these women also work for the NHS, they will be granted five days of paid leave as part of the new right.

Dr Navina Evans, chief officer for NHS England’s workforce, training and education, said: ‘Baby loss is an extremely traumatic experience that hundreds of NHS staff experience each year, and it is right that they are treated with the utmost care and compassion when going through such an upsetting experience.’

This new rule has been prompted by the success of the scheme at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s trust, which introduced it back in 2021. A survey found that members of staff were more likely to stay with the trust because of the policy.

Raffaela Goodby, Birmingham trusts chief people officer said: ‘I hope this national policy to support mothers and parents with love and compassion at a terrible time in their employment is welcomed across the NHS and drives possible change across the UK.’

According to recent figures, implementing this new rule has been long overdue. Research from the Miscarriage Association and Tommy’s, the baby loss charity, found that four pregnancies end in miscarriage and as a result, many staff do not return to work.

Currently, NHS England is sending its guidance to all 220 health service trusts that provide care, which between them employ around 1.4 million personnel – 70% of whom are female.

However, while it is positive to see the NHS making such a change, it is down to the individual trusts on whether they decided to offer the leave to their staff.

Image: Tamara Bellis

More on this topic:

Women at risk of miscarriage to be offered progesterone

Better reproductive health education urged to tackle parenthood fears

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