On Friday 23 January Liverpool Wavertree MP and Shadow Minister for Public Health Luciana Berger visited the neonatal unit at Liverpool Women’s hospital, which cares for premature and sick babies from the region. The visit was organised by Bliss, the special care baby charity.
The unit cares for over 1,000 premature and sick babies a year from the region and beyond, with levels of care ranging from low dependency to intensive care and was recently featured in the Channel 5 show, Miracle Babies.
Ms Berger visited the hospital after attending a parliamentary roundtable event in 2014 which looked at challenges facing maternity and neonatal services. She was shown around the hospital by Val Irving, Matron for Neonates and Imaging and listened to the experiences of a variety of families on the unit. The parents particularly highlighted the financial impact of having a baby in neonatal care, such as travel costs, food and drink and accommodation.
In 2014 Bliss reported that on average parents have to pay an extra £282 a week while their baby is in neonatal care. The difficulties in obtaining extended maternity leave can also mean a loss of earnings, placing extra financial strain on families.
Ms Berger MP said “It was great to see the work that Bliss has been doing to support the neonatal unit. It was clear from speaking to the mothers on the unit that they really appreciate the practical advice and support that Bliss is able to offer in facing the very real financial and emotional challenges of having a baby in the unit.”
Ms Berger, accompanied by Bliss Campaigns and Policy Manager Helen Kirrane, also spoke to Sarah Jones who volunteers for Bliss on the unit. Sarah is there to provide support to parents who currently have a baby in neonatal care.
Val Irving said: “We’re incredibly proud of the service we provide here at Liverpool Women’s, so to be able to give the Shadow Health Minister a tour of our Neonatal Unit was a great opportunity to let her see first-hand the work that goes on in the unit. It was also a chance for her to speak to parents and gain some understanding of the pressures and stresses of having a baby in a neonatal unit.”
Bliss provides vital care and support to premature and sick babies and their families to make sure they have best chance of survival and a positive start to life.