Bliss' response to the Prime Minister's announcement to increase health service funding

Posted on June 18, 2018

Nurse with her back to camera looking after a baby in a cot, surrounded by lots of medical equipment

Bliss welcomes the Prime Minister’s announcement today about increases to health service funding over the coming five years and the promise of a long term plan, including a comprehensive strategy for developing an NHS workforce fit for the future.

The Government and NHS leaders must ensure that the long term NHS plan takes account of the needs of our smallest, youngest and most vulnerable service users – the one in eight babies born each year who are admitted to neonatal services as they were born premature or sick.

The plan is due in November this year, the same month that we expect to see the report and recommendations of the NHS England’s Neonatal Critical Care Review. It is vital that the long term NHS plan drives forward the actions identified by this important review.

Services for premature and sick babies have experienced a clear increase in demand over recent years, however funding in this area of care has not kept pace.[1][2][3] As we reported in our Bliss Baby Report 2015, neonatal services in England are facing huge pressures, with critical shortages of neonatal nurses and doctors in hospitals up and down the country. While we welcome the Prime Minister’s focus on addressing staffing pressures, it is vital that investment is directed across all parts of the NHS responsible for developing and training the workforce.

The Secretary of State must also ensure that the long term plan delivers on his commitment to halve the number of neonatal deaths by 2025[4]. As the latest research[5] shows there is still a long way to go, and it is certain the ambition to improve survival and outcomes for these babies will not be achieved without urgent investment in perinatal and neonatal care.

Bliss will continue to campaign for investment and improvements to make sure the most vulnerable babies across the UK receive the care they need. But we need the Government to act. Join us in calling on the Government and NHS to take account of neonatal services in their long-term plan.

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