Bliss raises concerns about crippling financial costs for parents of premature and sick babies

Steve McCabe MP met with campaigners from Bliss, the special care baby charity, which provides support to families of babies born premature and sick across the UK to discuss the huge financial cost for parents of premature and sick babies.

The campaign has been launched with the release of their report called ‘It’s not a game: the very real costs of having a premature or sick baby’, whichis based on a survey of over 1300 parents and 178 hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales. The report found that:

 

·         Parents of a baby admitted to neonatal care face extra costs amounting to £2,256 during their baby’s stay in hospital, averaging £282 per week.

·         Costs such as paying for food and drinks averaged £53 a week, while parents faced travel costs including petrol and parking averaging over £100 per week.

·         Three quarters of parents reported that their household finances worsened as a result, while one in five couldn’t afford to pay bills such as their rent or mortgage.

·         Alongside the financial burden is the cost to parent’s health, with almost two thirds of parents reporting that their mental health had worsened as a result of the extra pressure.

 

Bliss wants more to be done to help families who face these issues and wants parents travelling more than 20 miles to see their baby in hospital to have their costs reimbursed. Bliss also believes that they should also have access to free parking and accommodation so they can be near their baby at this very worrying time, as well as meals provided and access to childcare at the hospital.

 

Steve McCabe MP commented:‘One in nine babies in Birmingham is admitted to specialist hospital care each year, it is important we ensure that all babies born premature and sick and their families get the vital support they need. It was good to speak with campaigners from Bliss about how we can support families so they can concentrate on their baby instead of worrying about their finances.’

 

Bliss Campaigns and Policy Manager Rebecca Rennison said, ‘We are really grateful Steve McCabe MP for supporting our campaign launch. Bliss is urging the Government to provide more help to families in what is an extremely difficult time. At Bliss we know that families have more than enough things to worry about when their baby is in hospital. Whether they can afford to be there shouldn’t be one of them.’

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