Victoria Prentis MP, a long-time campaigner for maternal safety and vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Baby Loss, made two important contributions to Parliamentary debates in the first week back after the conference recess. On both occasions, Victoria focused on the challenges that Banbury is facing following the temporary downgrade of its maternity unit at the Horton General Hospital.

On Wednesday 12 October, Victoria asked the Prime Minister if she shared her sadness that the majority of Banbury’s babies would no longer be born in the Horton General Hospital following the downgrade. Victoria’s question was followed by her fellow MP and co-chair of the APPG on Baby Loss, Will Quince, who asked about bereavement care for grieving parents. The Prime Minister stated that “what matters is a safe maternity service for mother and baby”, and that “ the best possible bereavement care [must] be given to parents at this tragic moment in their lives when they are at their most vulnerable.”

The following day, Victoria took part in a Backbench Business Debate on Baby Loss, organised by Antoinette Sandbach and Will Quince. It was an emotional and powerful debate from MPs, many of whom who were there not as politicians, but as bereaved parents. Party politics was put aside as they shared their own stories, those of their constituents, and debated how to reduce baby loss in the UK and provide better care for parents. Victoria spoke about her own experience and her worries for Banbury’s families following the decision to downgrade maternity services at the Horton General Hospital. She took the opportunity to explain to the House her concern that babies would be born on the road on the way to hospital, and her fear that mothers and babies would not be able to access urgent and essential medical care when they need it most.

Victoria Prentis MP said: “It has been an emotional week for everyone involved, but it is all worth it if we can raise greater awareness of the devastating experience of losing a baby. Aside from making representations in the Chamber, we were also able to hold a reception and a memorial service for bereaved parents and the charities who do so much to help people through their darkest days.

Baby Loss Awareness Week is such an important occasion. I really hope that we can continue to break the silence on this often under-reported issue, and I thank all of those who were brave enough to tell their stories this week. It was an honour to stand beside my colleagues and to represent the many constituents who share my very real fear over the changes to our much-loved and essential maternity unit at the Horton General Hospital. I can only hope that sharing my own experience will make a difference, and go some way towards making sure that none of my constituents will have to go through what I did.”