2 February 2018

Dr Georgia Ekitzidou, Associate Specialist in Neonatal Medicine at The Homerton Hospital, Newham, has become the 100,000th professional trained by Child Bereavement UK. The milestone was marked at the charity’s national annual neonatal palliative and end of life care conference where Georgia received a certificate from Child Bereavement UK’s Founder Patron, Julia Samuel MBE.

100,000th trainee Dr Ekitzidou receiving her award from Child Bereavement UK’s Julia Samuel

Samuel, a psychotherapist, paediatric counsellor and author of the recently published ‘Grief Works’, said:

The 100,000th delegate to attend a Child Bereavement UK training day is a landmark occasion, showing that the need for training and support for professionals is ongoing – but most importantly, it means that the bereaved families they come into contact with will have the best possible response.

Child Bereavement UK’s neonatal conference, now in its eight year, was held in London and attended by 200 professionals from across the UK, including student midwives on bursary places funded by Abigail’s Footsteps.

Student midwives who attended Child Bereavement UK’s conference with bursary funding from Abigail’s Footprints pictured with David Ward and Sam Collinge.

Exploring the theme of ‘Babies with an uncertain future’, experts in the field of neonatal and palliative care came together to discuss a range of topics including progress of the Perinatal Palliative Care and National Bereavement Care Pathways, the latter being rolled out in 11 hospitals with a further 20 to follow, and a national roll out by the end of 2018. The afternoon session began with a panel of experts discussing and debating ethical issues in neonatal care.

The debate panel (L to R): Tim Deeming, Tom Sheldon, Dominic Wilson, Alex Mancini, Róisín McKeon-Carter and Vic Robinson

The audience also heard the moving account of mum, Sarah, whose baby daughter Izzy survived a brain haemorrhage that resulted in a range of disabilities, and how, as a family, they manage her ongoing, complex needs. She said:

Nothing prepares you for the first time you enter a neonatal unit. My baby looked nothing like I had expected and she was hooked up to a hoard of mysterious noisy machines. She was extremely poorly. I didn’t feel like a mum, I felt like I was a powerless visiting onlooker, and I was terrified.

I have a photo of Izzy being christened, kindly taken by one of the lovely nurses. I never would have thought to take that photo, I was barely functioning. One of the things that stands out through our times in hospital is the kindness of people.

On presenting the award, Julia Samuel said:

When a baby is born, there is anticipation of new life and celebration, so nothing prepares parents for the shock of the news that their baby is very sick or dying. That’s why bereavement training is so important; professionals need the skills and confidence to give parents the best quality care and sensitive support at an extremely difficult time for everyone, so that families can begin to face their new circumstances and the difficult journey ahead. This conference has been a great platform for sharing, and for advancing that aim.

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. For support and information for professionals, and details of training, go to: www.childbereavementuk.org/training


Notes for Editors

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. Since the charity was launched in 1994, it has trained 100,000 professionals helping them to better understand and meet the needs of grieving families.

This conference took place in London on Thursday 1st February and was supported by Slater and Gordon.

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