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A pathway to better care

Welcome to the National Bereavement Care Pathway Project

In our first NBCP blog, new Project Lead Marc Harder introduces himself and his vision for the NBCP over the coming months and years:

Firstly, I’d like to introduce myself so you know just who’s behind these words. My name is Marc and I’ve recently started on a fixed-term contract at Sands to lead the National Bereavement Care Pathway project (NBCP).

The first few days have been busy and really interesting. I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. I’ve received a very warm welcome from colleagues in Sands and partner agencies alike, so a big thank you to you all. 

I am absolutely honoured to be involved in such an important project that will be key to improving the bereavement care parents experience when a baby dies.

I have friends who have sadly experienced the tragedy of stillbirth within their family and who have spoken highly of the support Sands offered them during their toughest times; as such I was delighted to be offered this post.

Prior to coming to Sands I spent 18 years in the private and public sectors (market research and Local Government) managing teams and projects in varied roles.

I am married with three children, and in my spare time (?!) run marathons, am a school governor, cook the odd Spanish meal and ride the highs and lows of supporting Southampton FC.

National Bereavement Care Pathway Project

I see my role as twofold. 

Firstly to draw in the strands of great practice, current guidance and research that already exists across the country. 

Secondly, to develop a pathway to ensure parents receive the best possible care in the midst of their grief, and at the same time equips professionals with the tools, templates and confidence they need to provide families with good care following the death of a baby. 

As part of my induction I have already met many professionals working with bereaved parents and I am blown away by the passion and compassion with which they practice. I have also met courageous parents willing to share their stories of both excellent and poor bereavement care.

It is precisely this inconsistency in care that the NBCP project is seeking to address. With the Department of Health’s support, the push from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on baby loss, and the input of health professionals and parents, we are aiming to develop a draft National Bereavement Care Pathway by autumn 2017, ready to test in pilot sites later in the year. 

This will be advised, approved and accepted by the Core Group of stakeholders representing a number of baby-loss charities and organisations, which acts as the Project Board. 

In our next blog we will share some of the excellent feedback received at the recent parent stakeholder workshops, as well as details of the professional stakeholder workshops we intend to run in London and Manchester in May. Watch this space!

Get in touch

Please feel free to get in touch with me. If you have any experiences, information or documentation you would like to share in order to support the development of the pathway, I’d love to hear from you so that we can ensure the pathway draws on the broadest range of experience possible.

My email address is and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you for your interest in this important project.