Cambridge baby loss charity Petals reinstates hospital counselling

Mother holding premature baby's hand Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The counselling service has started again after "generous" donations from supporters

A baby loss charity which suspended maternity unit counselling three months ago due to a lack of funding has reinstated the service.

The Pregnancy Expectations, Trauma and Loss Society (Petals) service at the Rosie Hospital, Cambridge, ceased after hopes of NHS funding fell through.

The clinical commissioning group said at the time it could not provide funds "due to its [own] financial situation".

The charity said public donations had enabled it to reinstate the service.

Petals, which was founded at the hospital on the Addenbrooke's site in 2011, provides counselling for individuals or couples who suffer trauma or loss during pregnancy or birth.

It later expanded to seven other hospitals in Suffolk, Essex, Oxford and London where clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have "ring-fenced" money from their budgets, said Petal's chief executive Karen Burgess.

However, the Cambridge service, which costs £70,000 per year, was suspended in September after the Cambridgeshire CCG said it could not provide funding, and the charity said high demand meant it could no longer rely on public donations alone.

Image caption The Rosie is part of the Addenbrooke's Hospital complex in Cambridge

Following the announcement, thousands signed a letter to the CCG to demand it funded the counselling service.

However, the charity has now announced that "despite the refusal of the local CCG to contribute any funds towards its running costs" it has been able to "reopen a limited service" thanks to "several generous donations".

Ms Burgess said Petals had been "overwhelmed with support" but added: "We still need NHS funding support to secure this service, and we will continue to work hard to achieve this."

A CCG spokeswoman reiterated that it "does not currently fund Petals and sadly it is not in the position to fund any new or additional services due to our financial situation".

"However, we are pleased that the charity is now in a position to restart its work," she added.

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