Making a difference

Louise Caldwell, Baby Loss Facilities Campaigner

Louise Caldwell

Louise Caldwell, from East Kilbride, has been campaigning for separate baby loss and labour wards at Wishaw University Hospital since 2020, after her own experience of having a miscarriage in a standard maternity unit.

Louise was adamant that she did not want any other woman or family to have to experience the pain of delivering a stillborn baby in a room surrounded by new and expectant parents.

In July 2020, Louise set up her petition to NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government to introduce dedicated baby loss facilities at the hospital.

In 2021, Monica asked the Scottish Government “what its planned timeline is for “ensuring women’s services in NHS boards have dedicated facilities for women who are experiencing unexpected pregnancy complications” and then wrote to the Minister for Women’s Health to invite her to meet with Louise.

As convenor of the Cross-Party Group for Women’s Health, Monica felt passionately about the need to improve miscarriage services across Scotland and the importance of listening to patients with lived experience.

Baby Loss Petition 2020
louise caldwell motion 2022

In February 2022, Louise’s petition amassed over 30,000 signatures and Monica lodged a parliamentary motion at Holyrood to acknowledge her ongoing work.

In the same month, Louise and Monica met with the Scottish Government for the first time to discuss the desperate need for the units. The campaign was welcomed by the Minister for Women’s Health, however, in the months following the meeting, both Louise and Monica felt little had been done to speed plans along.

In May 2022, Monica invited Louise to speak at a Cross Party Group for Women’s Health meeting to increase MSP awareness of this issue.

Monica continued to keep the pressure on the Scottish Government in the chamber.

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Throughout 2022, Louise continued to courageously share her own story with journalists and the media to raise the profile of her campaign.

In July 2022, Wishaw University Hospital confirmed its intentions to open a dedicated baby loss ward. At the time, Monica commented:

“The suite at Wishaw General will revolutionise the way miscarriage care is provided, and I’m delighted that Louise’s hard work has paid off.”

Louise Caldwell
louise sunday mail award

Louise was announced as the Sunday Mail Scotland’s champion for her dedication to fighting for improved miscarriage care in September 2022.

After NHS Lanarkshire’s official announcement confirming the opening, Louise organised a local fundraiser to raise money for the cuddle cots, units that allow grieving parents time with their babies.

At the beginning of 2023, Louise grew concerned over the inaction of the introduction of the units. Monica wrote to the Scottish Government again requesting an update and a new proposed opening date.

Finally, on, 24 August 2023, Louise cut the ribbon to the first-ever bereavement and baby loss suite at Wishaw University Hospital. This was a huge step not only for Louise and her campaign but for the whole of Scotland’s maternity sector.

This significant milestone would not have been possible without the continued dedication and commitment from Louise, whom Monica described as a local hero.

Louise Caldwell opening units 2
louise caldwell opening units

Monica commented:

“The vision for the unit was rooted in Louise and Craig Caldwell’s journey of baby loss at University Wishaw Hospital, which led to Louise spearheading a campaign for women and families to have access to dedicated baby loss and bereavement units in all maternity hospitals in Scotland.

“Louise Caldwell has made a huge contribution to the baby loss community and public life, by breaking down the barriers that make it hard for people to talk about the impact of early pregnancy complications, miscarriage, stillbirth and baby loss.

“I will be continuing to support Louise’s campaign to implement baby loss units across the country and improve miscarriage services for all women and families.”

In September 2023, Monica arranged for Louise to meet with the Scottish Government again to push for other hospitals to follow in the footsteps of Wishaw Hospital and open further suites across the country.