CVS launches pregnancy loss webinar and guidance to support colleagues

4th Dec, 2023

  • Colleague Benefits

CVS has launched a new Pregnancy Loss webinar and guidance to help managers support members of their team through a baby loss – whether it be miscarriage, still birth or terminating for medical reasons.

It follows the group giving a week’s paid compassionate leave, earlier this year, to any colleague experiencing pregnancy loss before 24 weeks[i] to support them through one of the most difficult events in life.

Pregnancy loss can be painful. Often forgotten, it can be one of the most traumatic experiences a woman can go through – and a common cause of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder[ii].

Believed to be unique in the veterinary market, the new resources are designed to advise managers on how to both approach and look after affected colleagues.

The resources will help managers to; have a good understanding of pregnancy loss; know what to do in the moment if someone experiences baby loss; feel confident to have a supportive conversation[iii]; provide appropriate emotional support; create an inclusive culture so colleagues can share and ask for help; support colleagues returning to work; and make supportive adjustments at work.

Primarily aimed at line managers, the new webinar and guidance are available to all colleagues at CVS. They are situated on CVS’ Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) hub for leaders and managers.

The resources, training and materials have been created by a team within CVS, including internal ambassador and veterinary Senior RVN Sally Linghorn – who has experienced multiple early losses in her time working as a veterinary nurse, Employee Experience Lead Claire Dennison and Health & Safety Advisor Alex Cowling, with input from the company’s gender EDI Group. The team sought guidance from the Miscarriage Association then adapted it, based on CVS’ unique veterinary context. It has taken the team two months to produce the materials.

The resulting webinar and guidance contain content on how to; understand each individual’s experiences and needs; help in the immediate situation of pregnancy loss at work; treat and record any time off directly related to a loss; understand how pregnancy loss can impact upon mental health; talk about pregnancy loss; facilitate a return to work; and the importance of regular follow-ups and check-ins. The resources also signpost managers to further resources, organisations and expertise to provide additional support to colleagues.

Sally Linghorn, Senior RVN at CVS said:

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“We care about our colleagues. As part of our strategy around colleague wellbeing and equity diversity and inclusion, we want to support our colleagues at all times, especially when facing the most difficult challenges in their life. 

“We recognise how devastating pregnancy loss can be. Last year we launched a policy to provide special paid leave for pregnancy loss. But since implementing this we have noticed a gap. We felt our managers needed guidance and support on how to provide the more practical and emotional support on a day-to-day basis, if someone in their team experienced a loss.

“As far as we know, no other veterinary company has policy, support and specific training and guidance on this topic, in our female-biased profession.” 

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CVS Group operates across small animal, farm animal, equine, laboratories and crematoria, with over 500 veterinary practices, referral centres and sites in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands. In the last five years the company has invested nearly £80 million in its sites, facilities and equipment, in addition to industry leading training and support, to give the best possible care to animals.

[i] If a child is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy; the birth mother can get up to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave or pay; the birth father can get up to 2 weeks of paternity leave or pay; and the partner of the birth mother or adopter can get up to 2 weeks of paternity leave or pay.

[ii] Pregnancy after loss and coping with PTSD | Tommy’s (

[iii] Including how to start the conversation, what to say, and what not to say