Q How was Bliss’ new strategy developed?
A Bliss’ work is shaped by the needs of babies born premature or sick in the UK and their families. We developed our plans for 2016 – 2019 with the help of over 3,100 parents, health professionals and supporters who completed a detailed survey in 2015. Using their responses, together with up-to-date information about the needs of babies born premature or sick and data from our existing services, we created exciting new plans for the next three years.
Q What has changed from the old strategy to this one?
A Bliss will continue to work with families and health professionals around the UK to improve the lives of babies born premature or sick, as we have done for many years. The new strategy’s main focus is to reach all 90,000 babies born needing neonatal care. For us to achieve this ambitious goal we’ll work even more closely with health professionals and expand the volunteer-led support we provide to families. Our aim is for all our services to be accessible in all neonatal units and to benefit all babies born premature or sick. We’ll also focus on national campaigning priorities, and supporting research that can make a real difference to babies’ lives.
Q Why has Bliss’ strapline changed?
A We have had feedback from families that Bliss’ old strapline ‘for babies born too soon, too small, too sick’ was not clear enough about the babies we support, and many families perceived Bliss to be a charity for just premature babies. It is important to us that families and health professionals know, as soon as they see Bliss’ logo, that we are the charity for all babies born premature or sick. We believe the new strapline is much clearer and more inclusive and we hope it will help more families to access our services if they need them.
Q Bliss now says there are 90,000 babies born needing neonatal care but previously said there were over 80,000. Are more babies being born premature or sick?
A The birth rate overall is increasing slowly, and therefore more babies are being admitted to neonatal care. There was previously well over 80,000 babies admitted to neonatal care every year but based on the latest up-to-date information available we know there are now over 90,000.
Q What did Bliss achieve during the last strategy?
A Over the last five years, Bliss has expanded its face-to-face volunteer support in neonatal units and worked with over a third of units to audit their standards against our Bliss Baby Charter, supporting them to make improvements in care and facilities. We have been successful in campaigning to allow children born premature to delay their school entry if they need to, and for improved financial support for parents with a baby in neonatal care. Our online information and support for families has improved thanks to an updated Bliss website and our partnership with Netmums to deliver online peer support, and we have directly supported more research projects which tangibly improve the care for babies born premature or sick.
Q Do you still fund Bliss Nurses?
A Bliss is no longer funding Bliss Nurses. The Bliss Nurse programme gave us a fantastic insight into the most effective ways to support the delivery of high quality care for babies and their families across the UK. We’ve taken this best practice, information and learning and will continue to support babies and their families through our dedicated volunteers and by working directly with health professionals. However, our new strategy prioritises reaching all babies born premature or sick, and we aim to work with many more neonatal health professionals across the country over the next three years to achieve this.
Q Why is Bliss’ messageboard now hosted on the Netmums website?
A We have formed a partnership with Netmums to ensure families of babies born premature or sick have access to information and peer to peer support whenever they need it. Netmums has over 1.7 million members and eight million unique users each month, meaning parents have access to a broad range of topics, information, and the opportunity to share stories with more parents who may have been through a similar experience.