National award for Belfast midwives for improving bereavement care for women

on 25 May 2023 RCM Maternity Services Midwifery Midwives Bereavement Care Northern Ireland RCM Annual Midwifery Awards

Two Bereavement Support Midwives from the Ulster Hospital have scooped a national award from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) for their ‘beautiful project’ to improve bereavement care for women and their partners.

Susan Still, and Jacqueline.Dorrian from the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, received the Outstanding Contribution to Midwifery Services: Pregnancy Loss & Bereavement Care, at the RCM annual awards in London.

Susan and Jacqueline, supported by a wider team, founded the Forget Me Not service for women have lost their babies during pregnancy. At the core of their support for women is the Forget Me Not group made up of women who have lost their baby. They meet regularly with the midwives and wider team to ensure women have a voice in shaping how bereavement services are delivered and designed.

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said: “Nothing can take away the pain of losing a baby, but the right care and support can make the grieving process just that little bit easier for women and families. Crucially, the service Susan, Jacqueline and the team created has women right at its heart and centred around their needs. This is a truly inspirational project from an inspirational midwife, and they deserve the attention and praise that this award brings.”

The bereavement care designed by Susan, Jacqueline and the team is a truly wrap-around package. They have also enhanced the skills staff in the maternity team around pregnancy loss with ongoing training for midwives, maternity support workers and student midwives. They link closely with outside organisations such as Sands and Tiny Life who offer bereavement support, and with other health and social care organisations, such as those offering mental health support.

On receiving the award, Susan said: “Jacqueline and I are extremely humbled and are still in shock at winning this prestigious award in recognition for the care our team provides to all our bereaved families. We accept this award not only as recognition for our role as bereavement support midwives but also on behalf of all the South Eastern Trust midwives, nurses, maternity support workers, healthcare assistants and medical staff for their continuous input into providing our bereaved families with such high standards of care. It has been a great experience to be involved in and memories of the day will be cherished for a lifetime.”

Bereaved families who have been cared for and supported by the trusts have also raised over £5000 in memory of their babies towards bereavement care and support which they have donated to the Forget Me Not Group. Donations are used towards ongoing staff training or other areas to support bereavement services such as items for the bereavement suite and to help provide gold standard care to other bereaved families. Parents can also ring fence their donations so that they can decide what they would like the money to be used for. Together they also organise an annual remembrance service and a fun day for bereaved women and families, where siblings of the lost babies create artworks which are displayed in the bereavement suite. Equally impressive is the Forget Me Not woodland project. This is an area where bereaved women and families can plant a tree in memory of their babies.

South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust, Assistant Director of Woman and Child Health, Kieran Quinn added, “The Trust is delighted that the Bereavement Team received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Midwifery Services: Pregnancy Loss & Bereavement Care at the RCM Annual Awards. This award reflects the dedication and commitment of the work that Jacqueline and Susan provide to bereaved families at an incredibly sad time.  I would like to congratulate them both on receiving this award.”


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].

Notes to Editor 

For more information on the RCM awards and the full list of winners visit RCM Awards 2023 | Royal College of Midwives Awards UK.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team.  We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team.