Parents and families supported with new Maternity Bereavement Suite at St George’s Hospital12 October 2023
The family of a baby who sadly passed away after birth raised over £80,000 which has been put towards a new Maternity Bereavement Suite at St George’s Hospital.
On Tuesday 10 October, during Baby Loss Awareness Week 2023, we were delighted to invite families, staff members, and donors to help us unveil the new suite.
Giles and Phoebe Barrett, and their families, were our honoured guests as they have raised over £80,000 to contribute to the transformation of the room. We were delighted to invite them both to cut the ribbon and announce the new name ‘Ottilie’s Suite’.
Giles said “On Tuesday next week, it would be five and a half years exactly since we delivered Ottilie, our daughter and it was a desperately sad time for us, but we will be forever grateful for the time we spent with her, the precious moments in the Maternity Bereavement Suite. We will be eternally thankful to the team here, their kindness and compassion.”
“No one wants to find themselves in a room like this, but it’s a lovely thought that from this point onwards people who come to the room might be more comfortable, cooler, and more together in the space that has been created. It gives us huge pleasure and enduring pride, to unveil Ottilie’s Suite.”
The purpose of the bereavement suite is to offer a more sensitive and comforting setting for families dealing with the emotional and physical challenges of perinatal loss. It’s a space that acknowledges the unique needs of grieving families and aims to provide an environment that respects and honours our families’ experience.
Austin Ugwumadu, Consultant in Obstetrics, said “In Maternity Services the outcome is usually fantastic most of the time, but sometimes not. You can measure how sensitive a service is by how much attention and care the teams put in. This suite is a reflection of this.”
Our huge thanks to both Hollie Ford and Melanie O’Byrne, our St George’s Bereavement Midwives who have been instrumental in making this project a reality. The Maternity Bereavement Team is there to be a friendly face to guide families on the journey that no one wants to go on, to provide support, care, and a shoulder to cry on, and to coordinate the services. The team acts as advocates for the emotional and psychological needs of bereaved families, as well as teaching and educating other midwives and healthcare professionals. We couldn’t be more grateful to them both.
Hollie Ford, Senior Midwife said “I would like to thank all of our families who donate and fundraise for St George’s Hospital Charity, but our biggest thanks go to the Barrett Family whom I cared for in the Maternity Bereavement Suite years ago. Your time, effort, and unconditional fundraising have allowed this transformation to happen.”
Further thanks to Samantha Goodburn, Goose Interior Design, who gave her time for free to help design and co-ordinate the huge transformation of the space. The difference of the before and after pictures truly show the measure of just how different the space is. Sam worked closely with Arts St George’s, the maternity team and St George’s Estates Team, to design the space and select everything in the suite to work with the theme and colours.
At St George’s Hospital Charity, we are proud to help fund transformations, like the Maternity Bereavement Suite, which we know will make a huge impact for patients and families in the future. You can continue to support our work and find out more at www.stgeorgeshospitalcharity.org.uk
With thanks to everyone who was involved in this project from the outset to the opening- we couldn’t be more grateful to you all.