Early in 2014 we launched our ‘It’s not a game’ campaign aimed at reducing the financial strain on families with a baby in neonatal care. Now, a year on, we are delighted to be able to update you on the many successes of the campaign.
One of the main objectives of the campaign was to raise awareness of the impact on families in the media and with key political figures and healthcare professionals. After a very successful media campaign we reached over 330,000 people on social media and secured over 100 pieces of coverage including in The Guardian, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express and on the Daily Politics show.
A total of 75 parliamentarians attended our four launch events and a further 23 attended meetings with Bliss about the report findings and our policy recommendations. This included the Public Health Minister and the Shadow Public Health Minister.
Another objective of the campaign was to ‘drive changes in national and local NHS policy to help keep more babies and families together in the future, enabling parents to be with their baby in hospital.’ In response to this, a government commitment was secured to review the issues parents of premature and sick babies experience with maternity and paternity leave.
The Department for Work and Pensions agreed to take steps to improve awareness amongst midwives and doctors about their role in assisting women who have given birth before their due date to quickly start claiming maternity pay and benefits.
Following Bliss’ report, a wider campaign to address unfair hospital parking charges was launched in Parliament and the media As a result, the Department of Heath issued a set of principles for NHS organisations which stated that concessions should be available for visitors with relatives who are gravely ill and visitors to relatives who have an extended stay in hospital.
‘It’s not a game’ has also encouraged hundreds more sign ups to our online campaigner network, which now has a membership of nearly 3000. So far campaigners have taken action by promoting launch events and reports to parliamentarians, writing to their local NHS trusts and taking part in social media campaigns.
To build on the campaign’s successes to date, we will continue to push for fairer hospital parking charges at a national and local level, as well as continuing to influence government policy on the parental leave system.
To find out more about the campaign, read the report here.