The latest research from Bliss Scotland shows that neonatal services in Scotland are lacking enough nurses and doctors they need to meet vital benchmarks for high-quality care. As well as this, services are also struggling to give parents enough of the practical support they need to be with their baby, caring for them, such as free overnight accommodation and support with meal costs.
The Bliss Scotland Baby Report 2017 was launched in Scottish Parliament on 24th January, you can find out how the day went by reading our update.
Our report chimes with some of the findings in the recently released The Best start: A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland. This review into neonatal services provides lots of recommendations to transform services of the future - including embedding family-centred care right at the heart of neonatal services.
However, we are concerned that while The Best Start acknowledges that there will be costs associated with implementing its recommendations in the future, it falls short of saying that additional investment is needed to grow the current workforce. Please help us make sure this opportunity is not wasted by getting in touch with your MSPs now and asking them to write to the Cabinet secretary for Health, Shona Robison, calling on her to take urgent action.
"There were times when there weren't the required amount of nurses in intensive care. If there were ventilated babies it was supposed to be one to one but often it wasn't. You often overheard staff saying how they were struggling for the next shift or the next day and were short staffed"
(Mother of baby born at 28 weeks)
Nurses and doctors caring for our most vulnerable babies do an incredible job but are often stretched too thin. The Bliss Scotland baby report 2017: An opportunity to deliver improvements in neonatal care shows that units across the country do not have enough nurses, doctors or allied professional staff. The recent Government review shows that there is a real appetite for change and transformation, but we're concerned that they haven't considered fully enough the gaps that exist right now - and the significant funding, planning and processes it's going to take to implement the recommendations.
We have found:
What we want
It is excellent that there is a real appetite to improve neonatal services in Scotland, but Bliss Scotland’s findings coupled with the lack of detail in the Scottish Government’s review concerning additional resources and investment mean this golden opportunity could be wasted.
We want Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison, to commit to:
- Provide immediate investment to address the current staffing gaps among nurses, doctors and other professionals.
- Ensure sufficient funding is provided for the full implementation of ‘The Best Start’s’ core recommendations for neonatal services.
- Consult on, produce and publish a robust implementation plan which details funding allocations, key milestones and outcome indicators to ensure progress is realistic and measurable.
- Ensure parents of premature and sick babies are consulted at every opportunity throughout this process.
You can make a real difference to the 5,800 babies born in Scotland by supporting our campaign. Take part now and ask your MSPs to contact Shona Robison to ensure all Scottish babies receive the care they need and deserve.
Make sure you never miss out on campaign updates or ways to get involved by joining our online campaign network.