Coronovirus: Baby deaths charity relaunches to help in pandemic

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Michaela Willis
Image caption,
Michaela Willis said these were "difficult, unusual, and challenging times for families"

A charity set up after the Bristol heart scandal in the 1990s is being relaunched to help healthcare workers struggling in the coronavirus pandemic.

Michaela Willis formed the National Bereavement Partnership after dozens of babies died unnecessarily after surgery in the city.

She said over the past few weeks she had been "bombarded" with calls from healthcare workers she worked with.

Eighty volunteer counsellors will staff the helpline from early next week.

The charity was closed 12 years ago but Ms Willis said so many of her former colleagues had been in touch recently.

Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
Michaela Willis set up the charity after her son Daniel died after the inadequate surgery

Ms Willis' son Daniel became one of the first Bristol heart babies whose short lives caused a national inquiry after the BBC revealed too many had died because of sub-standard surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary in the early-1990s.

During that inquiry it also emerged organs had been systematically retained throughout the NHS of hundreds of babies without their parents' consent or knowledge.