The Snowdrop Suite at UHP was officially opened on Tuesday 17 October.
This specialist bereavement unit allows those who are experiencing the loss of a baby, to have labour care in an area separated from the main Labour Ward. It has been designed as a protected space to allow privacy for parents and their families.
Thanks to incredibly generous donations over many years, the soundproof unit comprises a delivery room, a double ensuite bedroom, an area for baby, a kitchenette, and a private waiting area. The unit is self-contained, allowing privacy with a separate entrance/exit.
Fundraising for the unit was started by the Snowdrop Appeal which was set up by Greg and Jen Phillips whose baby, Jasmine Phillips, was sadly stillborn at 32 weeks gestation on the 29 January 2009. The couple wanted to help other bereaved parents by helping to fund the specialist suite at Derriford Hospital, as well as to provide support to help families through such a difficult time. Since then, a number of charities and groups have donated both funds and equipment, making the unit possible entirely through charitable donation.
Donations to Plymouth Hospitals Charity have enabled a grant of £217,000 for the sole purpose of building and furnishing the Snowdrop Suite. Corinne Smith, Plymouth Hospitals Charity Development Manager, said: “It has been important to the hospital that families have been involved in creating this space.
“The staff have listened to everyone’s ideas, and it has been a very long-term project to get right. There have been some amazing fundraisers who have raised thousands and thousands of pounds, and every donation has been spent on items over and above the NHS refit budget.
Director of Maternity Services, Sue Wilkins, said: “This is a really important day for us, and we are so pleased to be able to provide a better service for people experiencing bereavement care.
“We are incredibly grateful to both Greg and Jen and all those whose hearts and attention this project has captured. There are so many generous groups, businesses and individuals who have contributed and enabled us to create a distinct and bespoke bereavement unit.”
Joined by Greg and Jen Phillips, the Snowdrop Suite was officially opened by Chair of the Independent Enquiry into Maternity services at the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Donna Ockenden.
Speaking at the event, Donna said: “Families tell me that high quality and compassionate bereavement care is so important. In this suite, parents and families will get to spend the shortest amount of time with their babies and make memories that most of us will spend a lifetime making and enjoying with our children. My wish for those parents and families is to be given the time they need, to be treated always with kindness and compassion, and when appropriate, to be supported by staff in seeking answers to the questions they may have.”