Vaughan Gething AM, Minister for Health and Social Services
Bereavement care includes the provision of services to help an individual or family cope practically and emotionally following the loss of a loved one. Appropriate bereavement support can have the capacity to reduce the physical and mental impact of grief during this difficult time and Welsh Government expects health boards to provide such support, working with charities where needed.
Ensuring that appropriate support is in place for families that lose a child is a high priority for me and this statement provides an update on the work we are doing.
Earlier this year, Welsh Government set up the Bereavement Support Working Group. The group will work with Welsh Government to develop and help deliver improved bereavement arrangements and ensure health boards have suitable arrangements in place to help and support families who suffer the loss of a baby, child or young person.
The group comprises policy leads in Welsh Government, representation from charitable organisations involved in supporting families who have suffered baby loss, service user representatives, members of the End of Life Care Board and clinicians.
The charitable organisations involved with the group, including 2 Wish Upon A Star, Sands and Bliss work hard on a daily basis to support families who suffer the heartache of losing a baby, a child or a young person. Each of these organisations offer bereaved families the help they need to cope and build resilience to come to terms with their loss. I am very grateful for the work these organisations do and their expertise will provide insight and value to the work the group will take forward.
To deliver on the objectives of thegroup, we need to be clear on how bereavement services are currently being delivered across Wales. This involves having a comprehensive knowledge of the services available within local areas, which may differ in focus and funding streams.
To achieve this, Welsh Government commissioned, through the End of Life Care Board, Cardiff University to undertake a study to identify and gather information on structured bereavement services available in Wales. The aim of the study is to understand:
- what bereavement support is available in different areas in Wales
- for whom are these bereavement services available
- which of the NICE components for bereavement support do the services offer
- which performance indicators bereavement services use
- what are the gaps in bereavement support in different parts of Wales
An interim report has been produced which I enclose on the link below (external link). The final report with a fuller, more detailed analysis is due to be published in October.
To help direct the work of the Bereavement Support Working Group draft terms of reference have been provided and a meeting is planned to discuss the findings from the report on the current bereavement services I look forward to the advice of the group helping us to make further progress in supporting families across Wales.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.