2016 has been a busy year for Bliss’ campaigners, with three new reports published highlighting some of the key areas for concern in the provision of services for neonatal care across the UK.
In April, Bliss released the research report Transfers of premature and sick babies which outlined the challenges faced by neonatal transport services in the UK. Our findings revealed that these essential services are often under-staffed, under-resourced and part-time.
In the summer, Bliss handed in an open letter to NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens, signed by over 3,700 supporters, calling for a review of funding levels for neonatal care in order to meet safety and quality standards.
The Bliss baby report 2016: time for change was launched in July, and highlighted that services for premature and sick babies in Wales were facing critical staffing shortages, putting babies’ safety and long-term health at risk.
Bliss called on supporters in Wales to contact their Assembly Members asking that they press Cabinet Secretary Vaughan Gething for answers to these issues. In response to the report identifying severe staffing problems, Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales, made clear his expectation that neonatal units in Wales will be properly staffed by 2021.
Towards the end of the year, our investigation Families kept apart: barriers to parents' involvement in their baby's hospital care showed that neonatal units across England struggle to provide essential facilities and support to parents, such as overnight accommodation, which prevents them from being with and caring for their baby as much as they would like.
Providing overnight accommodation on units is vital in ensuring that parents can be close to their babies and as involved in their care as possible. We will continue to campaign on this and other issues into 2017, to drive change that delivers a real impact for premature and sick babies.
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