Pregnancy and Baby Charities secure Core Participant status on the UK Covid-19 Inquiry

Posted on February 28, 2023

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Earlier today (28th February 2023), the preliminary hearing for Module 3 of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry heard that Bliss is one of 13 pregnancy and baby charities who have collectively been given Core Participant status in the Inquiry.

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry is an independent inquiry set up to examine the UK’s response to and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and learn lessons for the future.

Module 3 will be looking at the impact of the pandemic on healthcare, including examining how healthcare systems responded, and the impact on services, patients and healthcare staff. Our Core Participant Status will allow us to have special rights in the Inquiry process, including being represented, making legal submissions and suggesting questions to the Inquiry.

The other pregnancy and baby charities who have also collectively been granted Core Participant status alongside Bliss are: Aching Arms, Baby Lifeline, The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, Group B Strep Support, ICP Support, The Lullaby Trust, Miscarriage Association, NCT, Pelvic Partnership, Tommy’s and Twins Trust.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss said, ‘’We will never forget how quickly neonatal services were forced to abandon the fundamentals of family-centred care during the height of the pandemic, nor the harm this caused babies, their families and the staff who were caring for them.

‘’Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Bliss worked tirelessly to reverse restrictions which were treating parents as visitors to their own babies, and supported thousands of parents through our adapted information and support services. We have also called for lessons to be learned: should services be affected in this way again, keeping babies and parents together must be prioritised.

‘’We will use our role as Core Participants in the UK Covid-19 inquiry, along with 12 other pregnancy and baby charities, to ensure the decisions made during the pandemic are scrutinised and the experiences of families and their babies are heard and listened to.’’

Jenny Ward, on behalf of the group, said ‘’Our charities supported thousands of people during the pandemic, and heard countless stories of how the health, safety and wellbeing of expectant parents and their babies were compromised repeatedly. We’ve also worked with frontline health professionals who feel they were not adequately supported throughout this time, and whose training needs were not fully addressed.

‘’While the UK Covid-19 Inquiry has committed to examining the impact of the pandemic on antenatal and postnatal care as part of its overall scope, it has not yet set out that it will be examined specifically within Module 3, which focuses on healthcare. We have urged the Inquiry to ensure this is explicitly included in this Module. With so many affected by the changes to services, it is vital that the Inquiry dedicates adequate time to hearing the voices of parents and expectant parents, to reflect what they and their babies lived through.

‘’Nothing could have prepared the families and babies we support for the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. What we do know is that decisions made during this time contributed to the stress, pain and harm which was experienced at a time when life already felt like it was turned upside down.

‘’While as individual organisations we support babies and families at all different stages of their pregnancy, birth and early childhood journey, we are united in our determination to ensure important lessons are learned so that policies implemented in future explicitly consider the full impact on new and expectant parents and their babies”.

We understand that hearing about the pandemic again may be upsetting. If you’d like to talk to someone about your neonatal experience, outside of the inquiry, our support team can be contacted at These conversations will not be shared with the inquiry.

Joint press release

Read the joint press release from the 13 pregnancy and baby charities who have collectively been given Core Participant status in the Inquiry.