Families need more support after a child dies suddenly

<span>Photograph: ImagineGolf/Getty</span>
Photograph: ImagineGolf/Getty

Your article (Child mortality from trauma and sudden death rising in England, study shows, 16 January) was timely, coming a day before the first ever parliamentary debate on sudden unexplained death in childhood (Sudic) took place in Westminster Hall.

It is shocking that, for far too long, so little attention has been paid to this issue. There is currently no information on Sudic on the NHS website, no national research and very little awareness that children can die in this way. There is also an appalling lack of professional support available for families whose child has died suddenly and unexpectedly. At Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in West Yorkshire, our service supporting these families, which is unique in the UK, is funded solely through charitable donations and fundraising, despite parents having a statutory right to a key worker.

We know that families’ experiences in the days and weeks after their child dies can cause lasting and grievous damage to their health and wellbeing. Getting the right support in the immediate aftermath of a sudden death has a real impact on how families deal with their trauma and grief in the longer term. Increased statutory funding is urgently required so that more families across the country get the support they desperately need when the very worst thing imaginable happens.
Luen Thompson
Chief executive, Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, Huddersfield