Fund for parents of premature babies

Premature baby web

Parents whose babies have lengthy spells in neonatal units will get financial support after a successful campaign from the charity Bliss Scotland

9th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A new fund is to support the families of babies that spend time in hospital neonatal care.

Bliss Scotland launched a campaign last year which called on the Scottish Government to help parents with the cost of food and travel if their baby is in hospital for an extended spell.

In response, the £1.5 million Neonatal Expenses Fund was launched by the government at the start of this month, allowing parent of guardians of premature or sick babies to claim reimbursement for food and travel expenses.

Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive of the charity, said she was thrilled at the launch of the fund.

“Bliss Scotland began campaigning on this issue after our own research found that the average weekly cost of having a baby in neonatal care is £218 across Scotland,” she said.

“This financial strain, at what can be a very emotionally difficult time for parents, makes it challenging for some parents to spend time with their babies whilst on the neonatal unit.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government to promote this scheme to families, and our Bliss Champion volunteers – who support parents on neonatal units – will be at the forefront of ensuring that all parents with a baby in neonatal care are aware of the fund.”

About 4,400 babies are born prematurely (under 36 weeks) every year in Scotland, and the average additional cost to parents is estimated to be more than £200 a week.

The fund will allow parents to claim expenses for one return journey to a hospital a day, parking, and reimbursements of £8.50 a day for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Coady Dorman, a mum from Lothian who helped raise awareness of the Bliss campaign, said the fund will provide a lifeline to so many at such a critical, emotional and worrying time.

She said: “As a former neonatal intensive care unit parent, I know that you would be willing to spend every last penny, borrow money, and do anything to get to your baby.

“It’s only afterwards, sometimes several months on, that you start to experience the financial impact of this and it can bring brand new stresses and worries.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "We want to ensure parents are supported and involved as much as possible in decision-making around their baby's care, and have more opportunities to bond as a family during these early days."