16 October 2020

The trip down to Edinburgh was uneventful. All the Covid safety precautions are in place at Sumburgh and on Loganair, hand sanitiser everywhere, and with only a handful of passengers on board physical distancing was easy.

The city centre was a bit busier following the return of students, but the signs of the impact of Covid on the economy is there to see with the doors of many businesses, predominantly in the hospitality sector, remaining closed. Some of the shops on the Royal Mile weren’t open either, a direct consequence of the lack of tourists.

The travel industry, like hospitality, has been hit hard and there’s little sign of an early recovery, as the reductions in Loganair’s timetable make clear.

With tougher measures in place across the country, the process of “recovery and renewal” seems a long way off given the steep rise in Covid cases. There’s a long winter ahead.

The Town Hall clock, Mareel and Clickimin Broch were brightly lit this week for Baby Loss Awareness week.

In Holyrood, the Members’ Debate on ‘Changing Miscarriage Care’ coincided with that awareness-raising and took place in the socially distanced chamber, led by Shona Robison. A couple of weeks earlier I had taken part in the online launch of the campaign to improve and change the care and treatment currently offered to couples who experience miscarriage. It had been both heart-breaking and inspirational as women shared their experiences.

In the debate there were contributions from female MSPs, some of whom had suffered baby loss, and there was admiration and support for several male MSPs who spoke for the first time about miscarriage experiences in their families, some recent and some not so new. You could hear a pin drop as they spoke. I wasn’t the only one who wiped away a tear.

It is estimated that about one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage but the reality is that the true scale in Scotland is unknown. 

The number of people receiving in-patient treatment for a miscarriage has declined, from 7,546 in 1998 to 4,635 twenty years later, but this incomplete picture hides the number of patients who are treated in the community or solely by their GP.

There are many reasons why a pregnancy ends, and many women miscarry before they even know they are pregnant, but whether it is a one-off experience, or multiple miscarriages, the impact can be devastating and last a lifetime.

As I said in the debate, it’s past time to remove any stigma associated with miscarriage and raise awareness of the emotional and physical toll it can have on the lives of women and their partners. In supporting the Changing Miscarriage Care campaign, we should aim to ensure equity across Scotland of quality treatment and care.

Anyone who is affected by this issue and wants to share their experience with me can get in touch by e-mail [email protected] or leave a message on the office number 01595 690044 for a call back.

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