Thank you for contacting me about baby loss and parental bereavement.
This issue unfortunately affects many people, and I offer my sympathy to those who have suffered miscarriages, stillbirths, or the loss of child. I applaud my colleagues who have recounted this difficult experience in their lives in Parliament to raise awareness of baby loss and inspire changes in policy to reduce the number of stillbirths in the UK, which is higher than in other similar countries.
I am pleased that the UK is one of the safest places in the world to give birth, however the Government recognises that there is still more to be done. I know that the Department of Health and Social Care has set out a range of new measures to deliver its ambition to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after labour, and maternal deaths by 2025, through the Saving Babies' Lives care bundle, an updated version of which was implemented in March last year.
I firmly agree that all parents who experience pregnancy and baby loss and would like specialist psychological support should be able to access it. In view of this, I particularly welcome the commitment through the NHS Long Term Plan to increase mental health support funding by £2.3 billion per year by 2023/24. As part of this I know that care provided by specialist perinatal mental health services will be available from preconception to 24 months after birth.
I am grateful to constituents who have asked me to consider joining the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss. In the last Parliament I founded and chaired two APPGs, one on Access to Medicines and Medical Devices and the other on Rural Health and Social Care. Committing to membership of an APPG is not something that should be undertaken lightly. I hope you will therefore understand that, given my current commitments I am unable to commit to joining an additional APPGs in the immediate future.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.