Today, Wednesday 6 July 2022, a brand-new and much-needed maternity bereavement suite opens at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn (QEH), providing a dedicated space for parents and families who have experienced the tragedy of losing their baby.
Named The Butterfly Suite by the local community, the £250,000 facility will provide a dedicated space for bereaved parents who experience the unimaginable loss of their baby either during pregnancy or shortly after birth. The quiet and private area will enable parents time to create precious memories with their baby, in a safe and comfortable environment separate from the clinical setting.
Previously bereaved parents had to say goodbye to their little ones on a maternity ward where other people could be heard in labour and other families could be heard celebrating the birth of their baby.
The appeal for a new Maternity Bereavement Suite at QEH was launched by the Trust in early 2020 and the redevelopment received the go-ahead following funds raised through generous support of the local community and the Trust’s own QEH Charity, rising a combined £250,000. The appeal was further supported by the Lynn News after becoming its Charity of the Year in 2020.
Amanda Price-Davey, Head of Midwifery at QEH, said: “Losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy can be a very traumatic experience, so to be able to offer families the use of The Butterfly Suite is so vitally important. Families will be able to spend time with their baby, in a comfortable suite that offers them both privacy and the security of being close to the support of the midwifery teams, so that they can make precious memories and begin to grieve their loss”.
The suite was officially opened by Ashley Gamble and Stephanie Gibbs, two parents who both lost their babies at QEH, and a plaque was unveiled reading the words: “There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world”.
Stephanie Gibbs, a mother who lost her baby son Max, said: “This ‘home from home’ soundproof bereavement suite will make a huge difference to families experiencing the devastating loss of their much-loved babies. It has been such a pleasure to be a part of the fundraising to get the suite, that was so desperately needed, in place.”
Ashley Gamble, a father who also lost his baby daughter Summer Ashley, added: “This room is built with the love and power of each of those babies and bereaved families pushing to make a difference for future families who sadly find themselves in the situation of needing this room”.
Caroline Shaw CBE, Chief Executive at QEH, said: “The Butterfly Suite will make a significant difference to the experience of our patients and their families who face the unimaginable loss of a baby, and will provide a much-needed space for them.”
Graham Ward, Acting Chair at QEH, added: We want to say a huge thank you to our local community for their generosity and support. This is a hugely important development for the Trust and one which will further improve the experience of our patients and their families.”
Fundraising efforts for the suite continue to enable the development of a memorial garden. You can give to the appeal online https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/QEHMaternityBereavementSuite or send cheques payable to ‘Maternity Bereavement Suite Appeal’ to the Finance Department, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gayton Road, King’s Lynn, PE30 4ET.
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To download the press release and photos, click here.