The Scottish Government has announced that it is creating a £1.5 million Family Fund to support parents of premature babies in neonatal care with travel and food expenses following campaigning by Bliss Scotland.
Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, said the fund will be distributed to Health Boards across Scotland to help reduce the financial burden on parents whilst on the neonatal unit from April 2018.
This announcement follows a recent campaign by Bliss Scotland to improve parent facilities on units. Bliss Scotland’s research found that 79 per cent of Scottish parents said they were financially worse off after their baby’s stay on a neonatal unit - perhaps not surprising given that 10 of Scotland’s neonatal units are unable to support parents with food and drink costs, and that on average Scottish parents travel 35 miles a day to be with their baby on the unit*.
The recent campaign by Bliss Scotland to improve facilities for parents called upon the charity’s supporters to ask their MSPs to contact Shona Robison to ensure all Scottish babies and their families receive the support they need. The campaign secured cross-party involvement, with Labour MSP Mark Griffin writing about his own family’s experiences.
Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss Scotland, said: “We warmly welcome this announcement of much-needed financial support for families across Scotland with a baby in neonatal care. This fund will help more parents to be with their baby for as much time as possible and to play a hands-on role in their babies’ care, which we know is best for babies and families. Bliss Scotland looks forward to continuing to work with the Scottish Government in 2018 to ensure the fund works in the best way for families, as well as on the delivery of the other neonatal recommendations in the Best Start – Scotland’s long term plan for maternity and neonatal services”.
Find out more about the other areas of our Bliss Scotland campaign here.
Email your MSP to call for immediate investment into other areas of neonatal services here.
*Findings from Bliss Scotland baby report 2017: An opportunity to deliver improvements in neonatal care