The Morrison Government will provide $11 million to fast track a new national plan to reduce the number of stillbirths, ensuring families affected get the respectful bereavement care they need.
The Morrison Government’s National Stillbirth Action and Implementation Plan’s primary goal is to reduce stillbirths by 20 per cent or more over the next five years. The plan has a 10-year timeframe and includes further short, medium and long-term actions.
Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan said the Plan would help guide improved outcomes for families dealing with the most tragic of circumstances.
“Tragically, there are six stillbirths each day in Australia. That means suffering and loss for more than 2,000 families every year,” Mr Tehan said.
“Our plan brings together families, community groups and the hardworking organisations that are helping to reduce stillbirths and provide high quality support for Australian families impacted by stillbirth.”
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt MP echoed Mr Tehan’s comments, stating: “Such loss is particularly hard as mothers and fathers prepare to welcome a new life into their families. A time of joy is replaced with heartbreak.”
“We will continue to work with these families, state and territory governments, as well as groups like the Stillbirth Centre for Research Excellence, Red Nose, Still Aware and Stillbirth Foundation Australia to improve outcomes for these individuals going through such immeasurable loss.”
“I am also pleased to announce that the Commonwealth Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer will play a key role in overseeing the implementation of actions that have been agreed under this Plan.”
To change these sobering statistics, over the next four years the Australian Government will provide:
• $4 million to support stillbirth education and awareness initiatives, particularly for groups at higher risk of stillbirth
• $2.1 million to adapt the Safer Baby Bundle program for those priority populations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
• $0.5 million to develop new Clinical Care Standards and update existing clinical care guidelines relating to stillbirth
• $0.5 million for data improvement and activities to enable long-term research on stillbirth
• $1.7 million to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Plan
• $1 million for state and territory governments to take immediate steps to increase the uptake of stillbirth autopsies and investigations
• $1 million through a National Health & Medical Research Council grant to Monash University to conduct a trial of a wearable, low-cost device to monitor fetal movements to prevent stillbirths.
The plan was informed by consultation with bereaved parents, new parents, and groups at increased risk of stillbirth, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, migrant, refugee and rural and remote communities.
This work builds on the Morrison Government’s commitment to supporting maternal and perinatal health, which includes an investment of $88.4 million over seven years from 2018 19 in perinatal services and support.
The Commonwealth will continue to lead work to implement the Plan and looks forward to ongoing collaboration on activities that will ultimately save lives and prevent other families from experiencing this heartbreak.
The National Stillbirth Action and Implementation Plan is available on the Department of Health website at www.health.gov.au/maternity.