On Wednesday 6 August, Wirral West MP and Minister of State for Employment Esther McVey visited the neonatal unit at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital, where babies born premature and sick across the Wirral, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales regions receive treatment. The visit was set up by one of her constituents, Ben Wills-Eve, who is a Bliss campaigner.
The visit was arranged for Ms McVey MP to see the work of the hospital’s neonatal unit and the support it gives to families. The unit has 24 cots enabling it to provide specialist care for new born babies who have been born premature or sick.
Ben Wills-Eve was born 17 weeks premature at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital in October 1990, when his mum was admitted with a burst appendix. After his early birth Ben had to stay in hospital for 11 weeks and was deaf for the first nine months of his life, but happily he recovered and has not had any health problems since. Because of his first-hand experience, Ben has been a keen Bliss supporter for over two years, attending campaign launches in Parliament, writing letters to his MP and arranging this visit to the neonatal unit with Ms McVey.
Ben spoke to Ms McVey about our campaign to get more financial help for parents of babies born premature and sick. Called ‘It’s not a game: the very real costs of having a premature or sick baby’, through it Bliss found that parents of babies admitted to neonatal care in England faced average extra costs of £282 per week for expenses such as travelling, parking, buying food and drinks while at the hospital and more. While visiting Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital, Ms McVey wanted to speak to parents directly about their experiences and help raise awareness of Bliss’ campaign.
Esther McVey MP said: “Visiting Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital was a chance for me to see first-hand what the experience can be like for parents of premature babies. I was also delighted to meet the unit’s staff and see the excellent work they do in supporting parents and recognise what a vital service we have in Wirral.”
After visiting the hospital, Ms McVey met families and staff at the onsite Ronald McDonald House Arrowe Park, the free accommodation for families who have children being treated at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital, where she spoke to parents and children who were attending the monthly ‘neo-mates’ coffee morning for families who are staying, or have stayed, at the facility.
Find out more about Bliss’ campaign for more financial help for parents of premature and sick babies