Glasgow hospital launches child bereavement service
A support service has been introduced at a Glasgow children's hospital to help family members deal with the death of a child.
It is the first time the Royal Hospital for Children has had a dedicated bereavement service for families coping with the loss of a baby or child.
Staff are also to receive training and support from the scheme, which will cost £110,000 a year.
The charity Child Bereavement UK will provide the service under contract.
Families whose children are patients at the Glasgow hospital will receive both long-term and immediate support after a child's death.
Plans include a telephone helpline and individual, family and couple support.
'My world was completely destroyed'
Michael Angus lost his six-year-old son Christopher in 2014. Christopher was an outpatient at the children's hospital when he died suddenly from heart failure caused by a genetic heart defect.
Mr Angus, who now goes on treks around the world to raise funds for the hospital, said his world was "completely destroyed" when his son died.
"If I had to invent a perfect son I would have invented Christopher. He was beyond my imagination, he was a beautiful child," he said.
"You're in desperate need of support as a bereaved parent. It would have been invaluable to have this service when we lost Christopher," he said.
Hospital staff will also benefit. They will receive training to improve their ability to care for families coping with the death or terminal illness of a child.
Emotional support will also be offered to staff members who are affected by the death of a young patient.
The chief executive of Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity, Shona Cardle, said: "For parents, the death of a child is simply unimaginable. Sadly, it becomes a reality for families every week at the hospital, and it is crucial that structured support is available for them at such a difficult time."
Child Bereavement UK were awarded a three-year contract to deliver the bereavement service by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
The service is funded by Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity, called the Yorkhill Children's Charity until 2015.