Pregnant woman

Paid leave after pregnancy loss introduced for NHS staff

A landmark pregnancy and baby loss policy framework is set to give NHS staff who suffer a miscarriage more days of paid leave.

The framework outlines that women who experience a miscarriage in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy will be offered up to 10 days of additional leave, while their partners will be entitled to as many as five.

The move is an NHS first and will ask trusts to give staff time off to attend appointments, including mental health-related interventions.

Occupational health support will also be offered to staff who return to work following a miscarriage, as well as referrals to specialist NHS services or dedicated baby loss charities.

The wider, national launch follows a trial at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, which resulted in staff being twice as likely to stay with the organisation due to the policy.

A Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development survey has found that nearly one in four (24%) UK employees who suffer pregnancy loss leave their job loss as a result of a poor experience with their employer.

Maria Caulfield comment

NHS England’s (NHSE) chief workforce, training and education officer, Dr Navina Evans, said: “We know the significance of getting support right in the very first instance for our staff, which is why for the first time in the healthcare sector we are providing paid leave so parents can take time out to process this traumatic experience as well as paid time to attend appointments.”

The hope is that this move from the NHS will lead to other sectors in the UK adopting similar approaches, added Navina.

Chief people officer at the Birmingham trust that first trialled the policy, Raffaela Goodby, equally hopes that policies like this become the norm for the NHS.

Raffaela said: “I am grateful to Staff Side, NHSE, Tommy’s and the Miscarriage Association for their energy and support”.

Chief executive at Tommy’s, Kath Abrahams, added: “As the largest employer in the UK, the NHS is sending a powerful signal that staff going through this experience deserve understanding, compassion and the right to grieve – and that support is possible, no matter what your workplace looks like.”

National Health Executive’s Workforce event will shed more light on some of the ground-breaking policies being introduced across the NHS.

Image credit: iStock

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