Cambridgeshire

Baby loss charity suspends counselling services in Cambridge

Mother holding premature baby's hand Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Karen Burgess said she could not "bear the thought of a mum out there who may lose a baby and not be able to access our services"

A baby loss charity said lack of funding had forced it to suspend counselling at a maternity unit.

The Pregnancy Expectations, Trauma and Loss Society (Petals) service is to end at the Rosie Hospital, Cambridge after hopes of NHS funding fell through.

A charity spokeswoman said high demand for its specialist care means it can no longer rely on public donations alone.

Cambs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said it could not provide funding "due to its [own] financial situation".

Petals chief executive Karen Burgess described the decision as "heartbreaking".

The charity was founded at the hospital, which is on the Addenbrooke's site, in 2011 and expanded to seven other hospitals in Suffolk, Essex, Oxford and London where CCGs have "ring-fenced" money from their budgets, Ms Burgess said.

Suffolk CCG provides £45,000 annual funding for Petals' services at the county's hospitals, she said, while services in Cambridge cost £70,000 a year.

Image copyright iStock
Image caption Five Petals counsellors in Cambridgeshire saw 320 families in the last 12 months alone

"I can't bear the thought of a mum out there who may lose a baby and not be able to access our services," Ms Burgess said.

"The commissioner reassured me she would take the case forward - I believed that.

"We are disappointed NHS leaders in Cambridge will not be taking responsibility for funding this vital service particularly as their colleagues in Suffolk and north Essex have made that commitment."

The charity said it would draw on "reserve funds" to support emergency referrals and it was seeking a "sustainable funding source" to restore the full Cambridge service.

Image caption The Rosie is part of the Addenbrooke's Hospital complex in Cambridge

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire CCG said it "does not currently fund Petals and sadly it is not in the position to fund any new services due to our financial situation".

A spokeswoman for Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Rosie, said it was "not commissioned" to provide funding, but post-natal counselling would still be provided, as well as access to a consultant midwife.

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