MOTHERS and families who face traumatic experiences during maternity or neonatal care could receive support through a new role being piloted in this region.

The maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate is available to help anyone who has experienced what is termed as an 'adverse outcome'.

Such situations can include the death of a baby during pregnancy or within 28 days of birth, a brain injury, an unexpected spell in intensive care for the mother, an unplanned hysterectomy or her death within a year of giving birth.

People will be supported to understand procedures, attend meetings where concerns are being discussed, and helped through any investigation or complaints processes.

Rhona Mulvihill will support people in Bradford District and Craven, as well as other parts of the region including Calderdale, Harrogate, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.

She says: "I am always sorry to hear when people and families have had a distressing experience during their maternity or neonatal care. I also understand how hard it is to share those experiences.

"However, I am here to support and advocate for local people and families that have experienced an adverse outcome across West Yorkshire and Harrogate.

"For those who choose to work with me I will do all I can to ensure you are listened to and heard by care providers, and that your concerns are acted upon. You can self-refer or ask a member of staff from your hospital trust, your GP or any health and care professional to refer you. This service is free – there is no charge for any support given."

Beverley Geary, director of nursing at NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, says: "Whilst adverse outcomes in maternity care – such as brain injury or death of a mother or child – are very rare, it is vital that families are supported through these extremely difficult times and that they are listened to and feel heard by their maternity and neonatal care providers.

"This new pilot led by NHS England will provide an advocate who can help families navigate the processes and signpost them to the best support available. We are pleased to be one of the first areas in the country to have this important bespoke role in our community."

There are a number of ways in which people can contact their maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate.

Further information, and contact details, can be found at