Letter to Chief Coroner

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Judge Mark Lucraft QC                                                                                     (Your address)
Chief Coroner
11th Floor Thomas More
Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL                                                                                                       (Date)


Dear Judge Thornton,

Inquests for Stillborn babies

I am writing to ask you to support Michelle Hemmington and Nicky Lyon from the Campaign for Safer Births for a change in the law to allow Coroners to hold inquests for term babies (from 37 weeks) that die during labour and are registered Stillborn.
Researchers have estimated that approximately 500 babies a year die during or soon after labour due to avoidable events.  There appears to be many reports of poor maternity care in the media, but little sign of acknowledgement or improvement from the NHS into these types of deaths.  As these babies die in hospital at birth they don’t attract the same attention as other child deaths.
These deaths are sudden, unexpected and potentially due to malpractice or neglect.  At present these babies are ignored.

Inquests will mean:

  • deaths will be independently investigated
  • families may get the answers they are looking for
  • recommendations will be made (e.g. increased Consultant cover on wards)
  • learning will happen between organisations and more public awareness
  • improvements will be implemented to hospital guidelines/standards (e.g. NICE guidance)
  • deaths will ultimately be reduced

I think that this is an important change that will reduce the number of babies that tragically die during labour.  Please support this change.

Yours sincerely,