Community / Idea for ‘quiet room’ in Sumburgh Airport for people experiencing pregnancy complications raised in NHS meeting

Sumburgh Airport. Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0)

THE SHETLAND representative of stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands has raised the idea of creating a quiet room in Sumburgh Airport for people who are travelling south for appointments related to pregnancy complications.

Marie Manson told an NHS Shetland annual review meeting on Monday evening that parents who have complications during pregnancy sometimes have to go on a commercial flight to the mainland instead of an air ambulance.

This means that they can be sitting in the airport with people they may know, possibly having to explain why they are going away – all whilst they are going through something traumatic.

“One of the things I would have liked to have gotten is a quiet room for folk to go in, so they’re not sitting with the general public,” Manson said.

Her idea received the backing of NHS officials, with director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan saying the health board would support Manson in any conversations with the airport.


It comes after a new bereavement suite was opened in the Gilbert Bain Hospital’s maternity department earlier this month, which was designed in conjunction with Sands.

Carolan said that “having a quiet space is really important”.

Sumburgh Airport operator Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) said it was too early to provide any comment on the idea.

Meanwhile Manson also suggested that NHS Shetland could take up the offer of bereavement training from Sands for employers.

She said it is about how to look after parents that have come back to work after baby loss.

NHS Shetland chief executive Brian Chittick said the training would align with the organisation’s aim to be “compassionate and trauma informed”.

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