National Bereavement Care Pathway Scotland – Launch

The National Bereavement Care Pathway Scotland provides dedicated, evidence-based care pathways designed for all healthcare professionals and staff who are involved in the care of women, partners and families at all stages of pregnancy and baby loss.


The vision of the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) is to increase the quality of bereavement care and reduce local and national inconsistencies so all bereaved women, partners and families in Scotland receive compassionate, person centred care.

At the heart of this vision is the voice of women and men affected by pregnancy and baby loss. Their voice is guiding us as we develop the pathway for Scotland and will be heard at every stage of the process.

The importance of relevant and effective bereavement care for those affected by a sudden unexpected death in infancy can never be unestimated. From our perspective, most of our support services are for the families of babies or young children who have died. Yet, this is not the only area we must focus on. When a SUDI occurs it involves (and can affect) many different people, from first responders, to A&E staff, to community midwives and Health Visitors, so providing them with clear guidance on best practice bereavement support is also of huge importance.

As well as helping the agencies involved in a SUDI prepare for such an event, ensuring they too can access the support they need can be a very useful service to ensure standards are met in the procedures and care specific to SUDI. Based on all of this, Our Executive Director, Lynsay Allan has been working on the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) project for the best part of 2019, leading on the SUDI pathway section.

National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) Project is funded by Scottish Government and delivered in partnership with Sands – the stillbirth and neonatal death charity. The project is managed by a Core Group of people representing partner charities and professional organisations. They generously gave their time and expertise to support the development of the pathways and guide the project.

The partner organisations were; Scottish Cot Death Trust, ARC, Bliss, Held in our Hearts, Miscarriage Association, Sands UK, The Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Nursing, Scottish Early Pregnancy Network, and Scottish Government.

“Families across Scotland who have experienced the sudden and unexpected death of their child, have generously shared their stories to help inform the writing of this SUDI pathway. They have provided quotes for the guidance demonstrating what was good in their bereavement care and what could have been better. Each has drawn on personal experience from the care they received from first responders, hospital staff involved when their child  died as well as community-based staff  caring for them months afterwards. For families who went on to have other children they told us what their care in subsequent pregnancies was like. We are very grateful to each person who has helped us create this guidance” – Lynsay Allan, Executive Director, Scottish Cot Death Trust.

Some families helped by filming short video clips explaining why they feel the SUDI National Bereavement Care Pathway is needed and what they hope it will help achieve.

Initially, there will be 5 NHS Boards early adopter sites for the NBCP in Scotland, piloting the pathways across their units and services in hospitals and in the community. These are  NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Dumfries & Galloway, NHS Fife, NHS Grampain, and NHS Lothian.

You can find out more at #nbcpscotland