Blog post by the Bliss Campaigns and Policy team
On Thursday we launched our latest campaign, ‘It’s not a game: the very real costs of having a premature or sick baby’ Our research found that parents face additional costs of over £2250 during their baby’s stay in hospital due to loss of earnings, travel and parking costs, accommodation and having to buy food and drink from expensive franchises and hospital canteens.
We launched the campaign with an event in parliament. We had a fantastic turnout; 40 MPs joined parents, children and healthcare professionals to show their support for Bliss. We’re certain everyone had a great afternoon chatting, sharing stories and playing with giant dice!
There were inspirational speeches. A parent shared the impact on her family of all the extra costs they faced; representatives from the FAB project on the Wirral talked about some of the innovative work they’ve been doing to support parents; and MPs stressed the importance of ensuring parents are supported to be with their babies. Many of the speeches were emotionally charged and really brought home the impact of the financial pressures faced by the parents of premature and sick babies.
The campaign has had a great start, but we need to get more MPs talking about our findings and the changes parents need. There are plans for a debate in parliament in the coming weeks and we will be launching the campaign in Scotland and Wales later this spring. We’re also carrying out research in Northern Ireland together with Tiny Life which we hope to share later in the year.
As you can see, we have lots to look forward to and there will be many campaigning activities to get involved in in the coming months! There are still things you can do to make a difference right now: we really need to make sure all MPs are aware of our report and our findings. You can email your MP and ask them to read the report, and tell them why you think it’s important that they do so.
To keep up to date on the campaign and what you can do to support it please sign up to Action for Bliss our online network of campaigners. You can also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to get involved with the conversation – make sure you use #notagame!
Finally, thank you. We could not have launched this campaign without the support of so many campaigners and healthcare professionals. We hope you like the report and that together we can secure the change we need for premature and sick babies and their families.